Under statute 512 of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCCA) in section (c)(1)(A)(iii) it stipulates that an ISP

upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;

My first question is what exactly "expeditiously" means, and if there's any precedent anywhere for arguing something was not done "expeditiously."

My second question relates to the DMCA in general. I know lots of people get Cease and Desist letters for downloading pirated content, and that these cease and desist letters come from their ISPs. I was wondering if there was anything in the DMCA (or any law) that says that, if an ISP is notified that their subscribers are pirating content, ISPs must notify them, threaten to, or actually disconnect service, or anything like that which would require ISPs to take action against their customers.

Update 1: I'm just looking for a specific point (if it exists) that states that the in order to avoid liability isp has to take some specific action against a subscriber who is downloading.

Update 2:

I've definitely gotten an answer to my first question and what expeditiously means, my question is with the second one. As a result of RIAA v. Verizon I know that Subpoena's cannot be used to identify the infringers and send them letters so what legal avenue are they taking to make ISP's send these notices?

1 Answer 1


To act "expeditiously" is to act with a speed and level of activity that most parties would act in a similar situation.

Sending "cease and desist" letters is part of meeting the above test, of "doing what others would do." The threat has to be real, and the ISP provider has to discontinue service in at least "some" instances after "due process." This, in turn, is largely defined by the norms of the time. Basically, the ISP must make an effort to balance of the interests of their customers and of copyright holders within the prevailing existing legal framework.

  • So I read through most of the DMCA and all of the OCCA. Is there any specific clause where it talks about meeting the "test", or doing what others would do? I looked, but I couldn't find anything about that. As far as I could find, there was nothing in the OCCA at all about discontinuing service or anything. I'm just looking for the specific point that states that the isp has to take some specific action against a subscriber who is downloading. Thanks! Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 18:17
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    Common law requires of all parties that they act "reasonably". Reasonably is an objective standard applied by the courts as to what a reasonable person in the defendant/plaintiffs position would do and depends on the state of statute law, case law and community law of the time. For example, "reasonable" in relation to health and safety in 1916 would be "unreasonable" in 2016 even if the underlying statute has not changed.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 21:37
  • @DaleM Is that where precedent takes over in deciding cases? Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 16:55
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    @JakeSylvestre that is a question too complex for a comment - why don't you ask it as a question.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 17:05
  • @DaleM got it: law.stackexchange.com/questions/11373/… Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 17:14

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