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12/21/2003
07:37 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Did Anyone Ask Metallica About This?

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week reversed a controversial lower-court ruling that forced Internet service providers to reveal the identities of Internet subscribers accused of music piracy. Since last year, the Recording Industry Association of America has been filing subpoenas, based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to force ISPs to provide names of alleged pirates. When Verizon refused, the RIAA sued and last January a court ruled in its favor. The DMCA-based subpoenas the RIAA has been using don't require a judge's approval, and the court of appeals said the DMCA rules don't apply to ISPs like Verizon. "Copyright holders seeking personal information about Internet subscribers will now have to file a traditional lawsuit," said Sarah Deutsch, VP and associate general counsel for Verizon, in a statement. "These requests will undergo scrutiny by a judge, thus preserving the privacy, safety, and legal rights of every Internet subscriber."

First Data, which routes debit and credit transactions from merchants to Visa, MasterCard, and other authorization systems, got the go-ahead last week from the Justice Department to merge with Concord EFS, owner of Star Systems, the largest PIN-based debit network in the country. Justice agreed to drop a lawsuit blocking the merger in exchange for First Data divesting its NYCE debit network. The merged company will close the loop between where a payment originates, such as a merchant's point-of-sale terminal, and where it gets authorized. In the case of PIN-based debit-card transactions, First Data will be able to route transactions more efficiently through Star Systems and pass the savings on to merchants, VP Rodney Bell says.

EDS has decided to tap a deep vein of tech-exec experience. EDS last week signed up Dave Clementz, former CIO of ChevronTexaco, as executive VP of service delivery. Clementz, 58, will manage all of EDS's delivery capabilities, which include 15 service-management centers, 90 solutions centers, and 350 business-process delivery locations in 42 countries. Clementz is the company's fifth executive appointment in the last five weeks.

For a while, it looked as though Santa Claus was going to need a tank top this week. According to an urgent advisory posted last week on the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Web site, "unusually hot weather has entered the region for December ... as the Earth has left its orbit and is hurtling towards the sun." The release, signed "Heinlein," was a test message, erroneously posted during a training session, according to a Weather Service spokesman.

Oh, those wacky weather people! That's why, when I need a good laugh, I turn on the Weather Channel—there's nothing funnier than a big storm front. But there's nothing better than a big, fat industry tip, to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about online piracy, E-payments, or IT experience, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post:informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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