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.
I have never been a user of Usenet or any of the other similar groups out on the web... but this would seem to have some far reaching implications as to availability of content in the future.
The Recording Industry Association of America has found a new legal target for a copyright lawsuit: Usenet.
In a lawsuit filed on October 12, the RIAA says that Usenet newsgroups contain "millions of copyrighted sound recordings" in violation of federal law.
Only Usenet.com is named as a defendant for now, but the same logic would let the RIAA sue hundreds of universities, Internet service providers, and other newsgroup archives. AT&T offers Usenet, as does Verizon, Stanford University and other companies including Giganews.
That's what makes this lawsuit important. If the RIAA can win against Usenet.com, other Usenet providers are at legal risk, too.
For those of you who are relative newcomers to the Internet, Usenet was a wildly popular way to distribute conversations and binary files long before the Web or peer-to-peer networks existed. It's divided up into tens of thousands of "newsgroups"--discussion areas arranged hierarchically and sporting names like sci.med.aids, rec.motorcycles, and comp.os.linux.admin. A handful are moderated; most are not. For efficiency's sake, recent posts to newsgroups are stored on the Usenet provider's server (as opposed to saved on a subscriber's computer as mailing lists are).