This latest round of RIAA lawsuits is acknowledged to be directed at university networks. As cited in the NYTimes article:
“We just put a little more focus on the users of university networks so it’s clear that everybody is potentially responsible for infringing acts online,” said Cary Sherman, the president of the Recording Industry Association of America, which filed the suits on behalf of record companies.
This Slashdot story (RIAA To Subpoena Univ. of Michigan Names) includes links to University of Michigan and University of Indiana reports that the RIAA has requested names to go along with the IP addresses that they have cited.
The text of the articles from the school papers suggest that this approach cannot be even approximately cost-effective for the RIAA.
“We want to be fair and reasonable. The intent here is not to make money, nor is the intent to win a lawsuit,” [the RIAA’s Jonathan] Lamy said.
“The goal is simply to send a message of deterrence, that this activity is illegal, that it can have consequences (and) that if digital music is what you want, turn to the great legal alternatives that are available,” he added.
A couple of the comments on Slashdot echo my own concerns, which is that the RIAA has decided to go after universities to get them to adopt the Penn State model.
It’s the university they’re after (Score:5, Insightful)
by Chief Technovelgist (759322) on Wednesday March 24, @10:04AM (#8655994)
I don’t think they care about the 8 students, or the fines – it’s the University of Michigan they are after. If they can convince large lawsuit-averse institutions like the UM, with networks serving tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff, to outlaw music-sharing, then they will have achieved their end. More bang for the buck – know what I mean?
Perhaps (Score:1, Insightful)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, @10:04AM (#8656002)
Perhaps this is punishment for not signing a deal with Napster and completely firewalling the campus dorms like SOME universities have done to appease the RIAA.
RIAA exportion tactics, plain and simple.
no psu students (Score:2, Interesting)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, @10:25AM (#8656250)
I doubt you will see any Penn State students being sued since Penn State President Spanier worked hand in hand with the RIAA to get the students to subsidize the PSU Napster service from their activity fee. Now, all psu students support the RIAA regardless if they listen to music or not.
The Penn State paper has an editorial today that touches on another dimension of this:
Not to burst the happy trustees’ bubble, but wait a second — aren’t there other issues in and around the university community that could use discussion? What about the continued occurrence of sexual assaults on campus and around town? What about continuing to foster a healthy living environment for all students? What about the creeping tuition every year, lack of state funding and threat of privatization?
Not that illegal downloading isn’t an issue for the university, but these other issues merit more time than a big commercial for Napster. Linking Penn State and Napster is little more than an advertisement for the music company, which is having financial trouble competing with other online music services. Penn State already has corporate links with the likes of MBNA, Nike and Pepsi, but these are less prominent than the in-your-face Napster deal.
It may be important for the university to foster healthy relationships with corporations and leading businesses, but it is not necessary to flaunt and spend a lot of time on the Napster deal at a trustees meeting. The only conclusion? Penn State needs to stop applauding its own efforts and look at what matters to the students. We admit, illegal downloading, is, well, illegal. But, is it the huge problem the university and Napster are making it out to be?
No, it’s not.
But as a result, students are losing out because of the university demonizing the situation and acting as a martyr for the all the poor, starving artists.