RealTime IT News

College Kids Can't Avoid The Sound of Music

The music industry's syndicate of major record labels today announced it has filed another round of copyright infringement lawsuits against 757 individuals accused of Internet theft, including computer network users at 17 different colleges.

The lawsuits -- filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents over 90 percent of all record labels in the United States and all four major labels -- claim the unidentified individuals illegally distributed copyrighted music on the Internet through unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) services, such as eDonkey, Grokster, Kazaa and LimeWire.

The names of these individuals, whose IP addresses were previously identified in "John Doe" lawsuits, have been subpoenaed from their ISPs, according to officials at RIAA.

In addition, lawsuits were filed against university network users at 17 universities who allegedly use the file-sharing application i2hub to download and distribute music on the advanced network infrastructure of Internet2, the RIAA said.

"The authority of the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in the Grokster case should not be ignored by students returning to campus this fall with sights set on free music," RIAA President Cary Sherman, said in a statement referring to a court decision handed down in June.

In that case, the Supreme Court said file-swapping networks can be held liable if they intentionally induce their users to commit copyright infringement.

Earlier this month, the RIAA sent letters to seven file-sharing companies, which reportedly went to all the major P2P developers, insisting they halt the practice and encouragement of copyright infringement or face litigation.

"We demand that you immediately cease-and-desist from enabling and inducing the infringement of RIAA member sound recordings. If you wish to discuss pre-litigation resolution of these claims against you, please contact us immediately," the letter said.

The continued trend by college students swapping copyrighted music and films across Internet2, prompted this most recent lawsuit.

"Both the businesses that encourage theft and the individuals who download songs without permission can be held accountable for their illegal actions," Sherman said in his statement.

"Those who continue to engage in this online theft pose a direct threat to the music community's ability to invest in new bands and the new music that fans want to hear. These lawsuits are an important part of our defense against that threat."

The litigation marks the third time the music industry has moved against theft on Internet2's specialized, high-speed university computer network. The lawsuits now encompass 39 campuses.

Today's announcement comes less than a week after a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property hearing, demanded more accountability on the part of college administrators and ordered the General Accountability Office to conduct a study of on-campus piracy.

"The spotlight on illegal downloading on college campuses is shining brighter each day," said Sherman. "We are grateful for each and every initiative that brings attention to this problem and moves the ball forward."