RIAA smells victory

A federal judge in San Francisco said Friday she is leaning toward a ruling that would give the recording industry a key victory in its quest to seek out and sue individuals who allegedly are illegally sharing music on the Internet. SBC subsidiary Pacific Bell Internet Services sued the Recording Industry Association of America in July in an attempt to block a flood of subpoenas issued by the trade group seeking the names and addresses of Pac Bell Internet subscribers. The RIAA's targets were mostly California residents who allegedly were illegally sharing songs via file-sharing programs such as Kazaa.

But in a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston surprised Pac Bell attorneys and supporters when she said she is inclined to transfer the case to the same federal court in Washington that also is considering another case in which the RIAA is trying to force SBC to reveal the name of one specific subscriber. Illston said that because the two cases involve the same issues, she is concerned about possibility of different rulings from two federal judges. Illston said she would take the matter under advisement and did not indicate when she would issue a formal ruling. Lawyers who are following the case said such a ruling would favor the RIAA, since the U.S. District Court in Washington has already upheld the RIAA's right to issue the subpoenas.

News source: SFGate.com

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