RIAA sues filesharing US students
Cary Sherman, RIAA president, said there had been positive developments in partnerships between colleges and legitimate file sharing services. He said: “During the fall, we have seen a flurry of additional agreements between schools and legal online music providers. That’s exciting news for the university, students, and all those involved in the creative chain of making and distributing music.
“The lawsuits are an essential educational tool. They remind music fans about the law and provide incentives to university administrators to offer legal alternatives.”
Note that some universities are taking that particular initiative — D.C. College Students Targeted in Piracy Suit [pdf]:
University officials determined that two of the suspected music sharers were students. They are still trying to determine the identity of the third defendant, who could be anyone with access to the university’s computer network, said American University spokesman David Taylor.
Taylor declined to name the students, but said that the school would give their names to RIAA lawyers. He said the students face several possible punishments, including being forced to attend an educational workshop on file sharing, losing their Internet service or being expelled.
And, there are plenty of other strategies:
The RIAA has not targeted colleges themselves. Rather, it collaborates with them on programs to teach students about the consequences of illegally copying music, movies and software.
Like many Washington, D.C.-area colleges in the area, American has stepped up its efforts to limit file sharing. School officials warn incoming freshmen against illegal downloading during summer orientation before the fall semester. The school also uses technology to curb the amount of illegal traffic on the network by limiting the bandwidth students have available for file transfers.
James Madison uses similar technology, but peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa try to find ways to allow their customers to evade the restrictions.
Georgetown University, George Washington University and the University of Virginia have Web pages that advise students of the law and their responsibilities online. Georgetown, George Mason University and the University of Maryland also send out letters to students warning against file sharing. Johns Hopkins University forces students to sign a form agreeing not to download pirated material.
Maryland takes students offline until they purge their computers of pirated material within 24 hours of being notified. The University of Virginia bounces second offenders off its network and forces them to pay $100 before they can get back online.
George Washington also offers students free subscriptions to Napster’s 700,000-song online library.