The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has dropped a copyright-infringement lawsuit it filed last Friday against four Internet service providers, because music site Listen4ever.com -- wh

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has dropped a copyright-infringement lawsuit it filed last Friday against four Internet service providers, because music site Listen4ever.com -- which was at the crux of the litigation -- has gone offline, Billboard Bulletin reports. However, the body continues to target ISPs in its pursuit of digital pirates.

The RIAA yesterday (Aug. 21) asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to force Verizon Communications to reveal the name of a consumer allegedly involved in the illegal trading of a "significant" number of music files. Verizon has reportedly balked at complying with an RIAA-secured subpoena for the name, citing privacy concerns and liability issues. Company officials could not be reached for comment at deadline.

The RIAA, claiming its subpoena is justified under the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, says in a statement that while it disagrees with Verizon's position, "we value the relationship we have developed with them and other ISPs over the last few years, and we look forward to working together in the future to address common concerns."

However, the trade group has not ruled out future suits against ISPs. In withdrawing the Listen4ever suit -- which named as defendants AT&T Broadband Corp., Cable & Wireless USA, Sprint Corp., and UUNET Technologies -- the RIAA warned that the pullback "does not preclude further litigation if www.listen4ever.com should reconstitute itself under some new name or move to another server."

The suit was the RIAA's first legal action against ISPs. Listen4ever had been using offshore servers in China to flaunt U.S. copyright law; the ISPs' "backbone routers" gave U.S. users access to the site. The RIAA calls Listen4ever's abrupt disconnection "an apparent response to the extensive anti-piracy efforts of the international music industry."

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