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Federal Judge holds that people can not be identified by IP address

Judge Nancy Gertner held that a person can not be readily identified merely by an IP address with any “reasonable degree of technical certainty”. This is something that most of the technical community has claimed for years as the RIAA made countless fishing expeditions using universities as unwitting accomplices. It is refreshing to see a judge at the Federal level understand this concept.

“[T]he Court finds that compliance with the subpoena as to the IP addresses represented by these Defendants would expose innocent parties to intrusive discovery,”

Crime does occur on the Internet. However for the last few years many of us have watched with horror as the RIAA violated due process and reasonable expectations of privacy while trying to prosecute these crimes. It is hoped by this author that in the near future the RIAA will conform to the laws of this country by using actual law enforcement instead of unlicensed private investigators and petitioning the court with actual evidence instead of the equivalent of a “lead”.

Clearly the weight of the judicial system is starting to tilt back in favor of the people but it is too soon to celebrate. No judge has yet stepped up to declare 17 U.S.C. ยง 504(c)(2) to be unconstitutional. With maximum statutory damages set at $30,000 per infringement the defendants absolutely must have representation in the courts. Yet the RIAA end run around this crucial aspect perverts that which is “fundamental to the American scheme of justice.”

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