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A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania ruled last week that ISPs must put their customers on notice before turning customer information over to a subpoenaing party, in this case the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Because customers of ISPs are often not in the same jurisdiction as the ISP, a customer may have a valid basis for raising the issue of whether the Court issuing the subpoena has jurisdiction over them at all, and may therefore be able to successfully contest the subpoenaing of their personal information from the ISP.
In fact, the Court’s ruling includes an order that ISPs in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are required to provide notice to their customers who are the subject of such a subpoena, advising them of their rights and even including a list of attorneys who can help the customer determine their best course of action.
No matter where you come down on the issue of the sharing of music files, it is comforting to know that, at least in some districts of the United States, your ISP has a duty to inform you if someone is seeking to subpoena your personal information.
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