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ISPs write letter of complaint

US internet providers tackle record companies over suing strategy

Over one hundred ISPs have written a letter to the record industry objecting to its new tactic of suing individual file swappers in its battle against the pirates.

The ISPs are being represented by industry pressure group NetCoalition which has sent the letter on their behalf. The protest comes in response to the flood of subpoenas sent out by the Recording Industry Association of America (Riaa) asking ISPs to turn in individual file swappers using their services. The Riaa is currently bringing legal action against around 75 people per day.

The ISPs are concerned that by using their information to find file swappers, they will end up being held responsible for their illegal actions, according to the NetCoalition letter.

"There are understandable fears among many in the internet community that the real purpose of this legal campaign is to make internet companies legally responsible for the conduct of individuals who use their systems," it says.

But Matt Oppenheim, a lawyer for the record industry group, told the New York Times that he believes the ISPs are simply protesting to protect the revenue pulled in by file swappers, who, he says, now account for more than half the traffic over broadband cable networks. "We're not asking them to police the internet," he said, "we're asking them to comply with the law. If they were policing we wouldn't have this problem".

The letter asks for a meeting with the record industry to discuss how it will ensure the accuracy of who is being targeted by the litigation, how it chooses who to go after and also who will meet the cost of compliance. NetCoalition hopes that by writing to the Riaa, ISPs will be able to avoid any legal action with the record companies.

The New York Times says that the record company has yet to comment as it has not received the letter.

Related links:
New York Times

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