Two universities prevailed April 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina after the Recording Industry Assn. of America in 2003 sought the identities of file sharers "Ca

Two universities prevailed April 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina after the Recording Industry Assn. of America in 2003 sought the identities of file sharers "CadillacMan" and "hulk."

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University provided Internet access to users whom the RIAA claims were stealing music. Treating the schools as service providers under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the trade group sought their identities without filing lawsuits.

Initially the schools did not object. After they notified the users, however, John Doe and Jane Doe -- claiming to be CadillacMan and hulk -- filed motions to quash, seeking a protective order.

In its 28-page opinion, the court held that the universities were service providers that merely supplied "transitory digital communication," not ones that stored information. As such, they were not required to provide the information through this subpoena process.

A spokesman for the RIAA says it no longer seeks identities without filing lawsuits.

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