Were you named?

You may be on record industry’s hit list
Online swappers are wondering whether their names are on the record industry’s hit list can check online to see if they’re among 871 whose identities were subpoenaed in the first step of unprecedented mass legal action to stem Net piracy.
The Recording Industry Association of America says it plans to sue the song traders next month.
The U.S. District Court’s Web site ( is searchable, though users must first apply for an account; confirmation comes a week later in the mail, and there are fees for documents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation may offer quicker action: The activist group hopes to soon let the public check the same information through
The subpoenas, sent to Internet providers, list the screen names of Kazaa users (Bency-987 and Sk8BoyBen, to name two) along with songs the RIAA says were traded. The provider must reveal personal data and inform the subscriber. “We’ve received 150 subpoenas in two weeks,” Verizon’s Sarah Deutsch says. “This type of activity is unprecedented.”
Verizon, which has put several employees in charge of doing nothing but processing the requests, has been battling the RIAA over the question of naming names. Two recent court rulings opened the door for the wave of subpoenas; Verizon is appealing.
“The privacy questions are huge,” the EFF’s Fred von Lohmann says. “They treat everyone as a copyright infringer, and you’re assumed guilty until proven innocent.”
The RIAA doesn’t always get it right. This year, it accused a Penn State professor of sharing a song by the musician Usher. In reality, it was a homegrown tune about astronomy by a professor named Usher. The RIAA later apologized.
RIAA president Cary Sherman initially said he was targeting the “most egregious” swappers, but the subpoenas list only handfuls from artists such as Avril Lavigne, Kenny Chesney and Snoop Dogg.
“A subpoena need not list every song a user is making available,” the RIAA’s Amy Weiss says. “It may only include a representative sampling.”
Verizon directs users to for tips on getting a lawyer and fighting charges.
“I’ve been getting thousands of e-mails,” says Bill Evans, who runs “The RIAA is alienating a lot of people, not just file sharers.”