Essentially, the court ruledthe court ruled that the legislative language in the law wasn’t quite good enough to cover subpoenas of P2Pers.
It did not rule that such subpoenas violated the Constitution or anything like that; anyone claiming that is not telling you the truth. The court’s analysis and decision doesn’t even mention the Constitution. The decision basically tells Congress, “Write the law a little better.” That’s all.
In street language, Verizon got off on legal technicalities.
For the short term, whether RIAA decides to appeal or not, there’s no denying this is a big setback for any near-term immediate future efforts to get more waves of subpoenas. However, in the long term, it is no killer decision.
While the ruling doesn’t necessarily prevent RIAA from pursuing the quickie subpoenas it already has in other parts of the country, they probably won’t pursue them that way. However, this doesn’t stop the RIAA from suing people. The RIAA has already said it will pursue at least some people the old-fashioned way, with a court-ordered subpoena.
Ironically, while this may spare some already subpoenaed, those who are pursued in court will probably end up paying more in settlements.
Even more ironically, this decision is likely to push Congress further in the direction of simply illegalizing P2P networks altogether.
While it would only take about two sentences’ worth of legal language to “fix” the law, even the RIAA would probably rather shut down the networks than sue lots of people.
Yes, they can do that, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not telling you the truth.
(For you legal beagles, Sony does not stop Congress from passing such a law; indeed Sony urges Congress to pass such laws if that’s how they want to solve copying problems.)
You think P2P can’t be stopped? Well, laws against murder don’t stop all murders, but they do make murderers.