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Verizon Wireless To Issue Letters To Illegal Downloaders

Verizon Wireless, the second-largest phone company in the United States, has agreed to start issuing notices on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America to its customers that are found to be illegally downloading music. Verizon was notable for being the staunchest opponent to taking action against those it provides with Internet service. While other Internet service providers allowed the RIAA to access the personal information of their customers or had "three strike" rules regarding downloading illegal content, Verizon had no policy on those who were determined to be downloading copyrighted content.


Eric Rabe, a Verizon executive, said that the only action taking place is a written notification. Verizon also will not give the RIAA any personal information without a subpoena nor initiate any sort of three strike program. Anonymous sources disclosed that the letter campaign was part of an unidentified test that the company is undertaking.


While merely sending letters, coupled with the company's openness about not undergoing legal action against their customers, will probably not affect illegal downloading much, it still seems like a step in the wrong direction. With Verizon beginning to kowtow to the whims of an outdated institution like the RIAA, it could only be a matter of time before other ISPs fall in line with the RIAA's outlandish requests.

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Luckily nobody *really* cares about music. When processing speeds gets fast enough and downloading movies 'n such gets outta hand then we'll see a pissed off entertainment industry.

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Illegal downloading is already a big problem for the film and TV industry and we (I work for the industry) take it very seriously.

Copyright theft costs us nearly £500m* every year. This is income lost to reinvestment in future productions and it impacts on the wages and job security of ordinary employees.

We welcome Verizon’s plans to get tough with copyright infringers if this helps to tackle what is a serious problem.


Ollie at the Trust

* Figures taken from independent research by Ipsos Mori

Industry Trust

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