In a previous case, Judge John Bates ruled that Verizon had to release the name of one of its users who shared a number of songs on popular media-sharing network Kazaa. This ruling was then temporarily put on hold pending appeal.
In this second round of fighting between Verizon and the RIAA, Verizon attempted to stop a new subpoena issued by the RIAA, claiming that the RIAA was violating Internet users’ First Amendment constitutional rights. Verizon also sought a stay pending appeal of the previous decision.
The court rejected both of these motions.
In his most recent decision, Bates wrote, “Verizon cannot demonstrate that it has a substantial likelihood of prevailing … and has not shown that it will be irreparably harmed if a stay pending appeal is not granted.”
Casey Sherman, President of the RIAA, applauded the court’s decision, saying, “If users of pirate peer-to-peer sites don’t want to be identified, they should not break the law by illegally distributing music. Today’s decision makes clear that these individuals cannot rely on their ISPs to shield them from accountability.”
Verizon, however, vowed to continue to protect its users’ privacy. In a press release, Senior Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel for Verizon, John Thorne, referred to the RIAA as a “large copyright monopolist,” and said that the U.S. Court of Appeals had already agreed to hear their case for appeal on “an expedited schedule.”
“Verizon feels very strongly that the privacy, safety and due process rights of hundreds of thousands – or perhaps millions – of Internet subscribers hang in the balance of the court’s decision,” said Thorne.
The ongoing battle between Verizon and the music industry is considered groundbreaking, because it will set the stage for how easily copyright laws can be enforced on Internet users.