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RIAA College Steamroller Continues
March 21, 2007
Thomas Mennecke
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The RIAA's renewed crusade against college and university students is growing in scope, as it reflects its previous monthly campaign against paying ISP customers. The music industry's previous enforcement efforts typically pursued about 700+ alleged pirates a month. While the RIAA's current strategy doesn't contain as many individuals as its previous campaign, its frequency is certainly comparable.

The RIAA has stayed relatively low in the media radar scope for the months preceding February. In fact, its last big headline splash occurred in October, when a war of words between the US music industry and was in high gear - and that situation wasn't truly part of the pursuit of file-sharers. The most relevant headline regarding the file-sharing community occurred back in June of 2006, when the RIAA announced a more "media local" approach to P2P piracy. Prior to that, one could almost calculate the next lunar cycle by the RIAA's monthly lawsuit announcements.

With lawsuit announcements at best scant for the last several months, it seems the RIAA has once again shifted gears. The music industry’s lawsuit campaign has once again reclaimed the headlines, with its focus this time primarily on university and college students.

Last month, the RIAA introduced its more streamlined approach to alleged P2P piracy enforcement, with a concept known as "pre-litigation" letters. As their name suggests, these letters are offered to individuals (typically university/college students) in the stead of a lawsuit. The alleged infringer then has the option to settle at a discount rather than the more expensive "John Doe" action.

In an announcement made today, the RIAA is once again sending its "pre-litigation" letter to 23 colleges and universities. In total, there are 405 students that can expect to receive a letter within the coming days.

The University of Wisconsin system received the most with 66 letters, while Boston University received 50. These letters will have the IP address with an accompanying time/date stamp. The university will then have to research the information to find the alleged pirate. This technique is already wearing thin on some universities, as interestingly the University of Wisconsin has refused to go along with the plan. Additionally, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln simply doesn't keep IP logs long enough to fall within the scope of the RIAA's investigation.

With the music industry's latest tactic work? We'll know when/if there's another change of lawsuit tactics.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Entertainment Industry :: RIAA
Legal/Courtroom :: Individual Lawsuits

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