(CN) – Major record labels have the right to know who’s illegally downloading their music, the 2nd Circuit ruled Thursday. The court said a computer user’s right to remain anonymous does not trump the labels’ right to enforce their copyrights.
The alleged infringer, identified only as “Doe 3,” asked a federal magistrate judge to quash a subpoena served on his Internet service provider, the State University of New York at Albany. The record labels wanted to learn the names of 16 people who allegedly downloaded or distributed copyrighted songs through an online file-sharing network.
Doe 3 objected to having his identity revealed, claiming he has a First Amendment right to remain anonymous.
The magistrate judge refused to quash the subpoena, and U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby rejected Doe 3’s claims on appeal.
The federal appeals court in Manhattan affirmed.
“The First Amendment does not … provide a license for copyright infringement,” Judge Amalya Kearse wrote for the three-judge panel.
“Thus, to the extent that anonymity is used to mask copyright infringement or to facilitate such infringement by other persons, it is unprotected by the First Amendment.”
Plaintiff record labels include Arista Records, Atlantic Recording, BMG Music, Capitol Records, Elektra Entertainment Group, Interscope Records, Warner Bros. Records and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.