A federal appeals court on Friday rejected efforts by the recording industry to compel the nation's Internet providers to turn over names of subscribers suspected of illegally swapping music online.
The ruling from a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was a dramatic setback for the industry's controversial anti-piracy campaign. It overturned the trial judge's decision to enforce a type of copyright subpoena from a law that predates the music downloading trend.
The appeals court said the 1998 law doesn't cover the popular file-sharing networks currently used by tens of millions of Americans to download songs.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act "betrays no awareness whatsoever that Internet users might be able directly to exchange files containing copyrighted works," the court wrote.