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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case Regarding P2P Subpoenas

12 Oct, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case that could have made it easier for content providers to subpoena information about suspected peer-to-peer (P2P) copyright infringers. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lost a lower court case that forced industry lawyers to file “john doe” lawsuits against individuals suspected of violating copyrights to get subpoenas, rather than identify behavior and force the Internet Service Provider to provide the identity of the suspected infringer. The high court denied certiorari, or refused to hear the case, without comment.

Meanwhile, the court has not yet said whether it will consider a case that might resolve two conflicting decisions about whether companies that operate file-trading services can be held accountable for users' copyright infringement.

Content providers have asked the court in a 46-page brief to hear an appeal of MGM v. Grokster, in which Judge Steven Wilson found that P2P service providers could not be held liable for users who used the service to distribute materials in violation of copyrights and without their participation or knowledge.

In another decision regarding a similar service, Aimster, another federal judge found that P2P providers could be held liable for users' copyright infringement.

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