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 Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > DMCA Safe Harbor > Frequently Asked Questions > Can a copyright owner find out the identity of the...? Printer-friendly version
Question: Can a copyright owner find out the identity of the individual responsible for the allegedly infringing material?

Answer: The safe harbor provisions permit a copyright owner to subpoena the identity of the individual allegedly responsible for the infringing activities. [512(h)] Such a subpoena is granted on the condition that the information about the individual's identity will only be used in relation to the protection of the intellectual property rights of the copyright owner. [512(h)(2)(C)]

The DMCA subpoena provision does not apply to requests for the identities of users of ISP conduit 512(a) services, but only to users of hosting or linking, for which a takedown may be sent under 512(c)(3)(A). Thus DMCA subpoenas cannot be used to find the identities of users engaged in peer-to-peer filesharing. Recording Industry Assoc. of America v. Verizon Internet Svcs., Inc.

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