One potential roadblock for the RIAA's latest lawsuit may come courtesy of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA's Safe Harbor provision provides protection for ISPs from copyright infringement lawsuits as long as they take down offending material once they are served with a notice of infringement. The biggest question in the trial is whether Usenet.com qualifies for Safe Harbor protection under the DMCA. "Whether the Safe Harbor applies is the central legal question that is going to be raised," EFF senior staff attorney Fred von Lohmann told Ars...

Usenet.com does have a designated agent for copyright infringement claims, as is required under the DMCA, and its retention policy may not even come into play, according to von Lohmann. If Usenet.com can show that it complies with the DMCA by removing access to infringing content and by suspending the accounts of repeat offenders, it may be enough to provide it with protection under the hosting and linking provisions of the DMCA.