In the United States, consumer ISPs have been handing over the identities of suspected BitTorrent pirates for years, mostly because a court has compelled them to as part of a copyright infringement lawsuit. It’s not particularly difficult for rightsholders to take this route, but it can be expensive.
In the early 2000s, the RIAA hoped to cut costs by obtaining the details of Verizon customers via the DMCA subpoena process. That ultimately failed in 2005 when a court found that subpoenas under section 512(h) only apply to ISPs that directly store, cache, or provide links to infringing material.
That decision settled the waters for years but didn’t prevent BMG and anti-piracy partner Rightscorp from trying to identify 30,000 subscribers of ISP CBeyond in 2014. A year later, a court sided with the ISP and rejected calls for a more progressive reading of the law.
“It is the province of Congress, not the courts, to decide whether to rewrite the DMCA in order to make it fit a…