RIAA blow back
Pacific Bell Internet Services (PBIS), operated by telecommunications giant SBC Communications, challenged the subpoenas served against it by the RIAA on procedural grounds, arguing that hundreds of them were served improperly.The validity of this challenge is not nearly so significant as the fact it is being made. The basic premise of the RIAA subpoenas was litigation in terrorum. The RIAA knows it will lose the bulk of the cases it takes to Court and is very unlikely to get 40 million dollars from my thirteen year old. The idea is to scare the living daylights out of Mr. and Mrs. Middle America so they unplug junior's modem.
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It was a lame idea to begin with and a measure of just how desperate the aging moguls of music are to keep acting as unnecessary middlemen for really, really pathetic mainstream acts. It was a pretty sure bet that most of the folks whose names were being sought would have no idea how to defend themselves if they were hauled into Court and that the RIAA could count on any number of bloodless victories. As those rolled up, I suspect the RIAA brain trust figured that more and more kids and parents would get "the message".
But once Pactel decided to challenge the subpoenas that little fantasy went poof. Pactel can outlawyer the RIAA and outspend them. But the RIAA cannot afford to lose even once. If they do their lack of legal clothing will be fully exposed and the whole in terrorum campaign is legal road kill.
Once people understand just how shaky the entire RIAA case is from a procedural and evidentiary perspective - prove which songs on my hard drive I do no have CDs for, prove that you do, in fact have clear title to the copyright to my 1963 Islely Brothers tune, and so on - they will actually fight back. Terrorized no longer.
Good for Pactel.