RIAA Fights Verizon Bid to Delay Naming Downloader

By | February 8, 2003 at 12:00 AM

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Friday opposed Verizon Communications request for a stay on a judge’s recent order requiring Verizon to turn over the name of a customer suspected of downloading songs on the Web.

Last week, Verizon filed a motion for a stay on the order until the company’s appeal of the decision could be heard.

Verizon was not available to comment late Friday.

U.S. District Judge John Bates in late January said Verizon must cooperate with recording industry efforts to track down online song swappers, rejecting the telecommunications giant’s assertion that such a move would violate customer privacy and turn it into an online copyright cop.

“There is no right to anonymously commit crimes. No one, including Verizon, disputes that its users are downloading and disseminating copyrighted works in violation of the law. Individuals who infringe music on P2P networks are not engaged in private conduct; they are agreeing to freely share files on their hard drives with millions of other users on a public network,” said Matthew Oppenheim, Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, RIAA, said after the group filed briefs opposing Verizon’s request for a stay.

The RIAA represents the five largest recording companies: AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music; Sony Corp.’s Sony Music; Bertelsmann AG’s BMG; Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group; and EMI Group Plc.