The music and movie companies warn that file-sharing sites are rife with graphic pornography that insinuates itself into users' computers. Civil libertarians and Internet service providers argue that music companies' anti-piracy tactics open the door for pornographers and others in the seamy online underbelly to invade Internet users' privacy.
Internet service providers and civil liberties groups have argued that a record industry strategy -- using subpoenas to force ISPs to identify customers accused of file-sharing piracy -- could enable pornographers, stalkers and other shady characters to obtain the names and addresses of Internet users.
Last week, one adult-entertainment company may have given the RIAA's opponents ammunition in their fight against the subpoenas. San Francisco-based IO Group Inc., which sells gay male adult videos under the name Titan Media, sent Pacific Bell Internet Services a pair of subpoenas seeking the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of at least 59 customers accused of infringing its copyrights on file-sharing networks.
When Pac Bell objected to the requests, Titan withdrew the subpoenas. Nevertheless, Pac Bell sued Titan in federal court July 30, asking for an order declaring that such subpoenas were improper.
Porn and file sharing have been discussed before, for example in Wired where the contention was that file sharing was good for porn sellers, in one way or another, where they were using file sharing to gain exposure and customers. Apparently, Titan has decided that file sharing was not helping their business and acted accordingly. However, Judges may be able to evaluate more critically the subpoena process (with subpoena-bots) if they are thinking about its use with porn verses content the RIAA wants to protect. SBC's action against Titan may shift the file sharing/subpoena debate, if SBC is successful in forcing a change in the subpoena process allowed under the DMCA.Posted by Mary Hodder at August 05, 2003 08:35 AM