The Supreme Court is side-stepping a dispute over whether Internet providers can be forced to identify users illegally swapping music and movies online.
The Bush administration agrees with the recording and movie companies, which want to use a 1998 law to gain data about Internet users. But, the administration has encouraged justices to take their time settling the issue.
The recording industry wants court intervention now. It says more than 2.5 billion music files are illegally downloaded each month.
An appeals court ruling blocks the 1998 law from being used to get data on people who share copyrighted files.
Lawyers for Verizon Communications are trying to keep subscriber names and addresses private. The lawyers say the industry hasn't been deterred from pursuing copyright violators.
Other pending cases could give the court a chance to review the copyright law.