Apr 132005
Authors: Hallie Woods

The Recording Industry Association of America filed 405 lawsuits against students at the following universities for illegal file sharing:

Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California – Berkeley, University of California – San Diego, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of Pittsburgh and University of Southern California.



Although he knows illegal file sharing will never disappear completely, the president of the Recording Industry Association of American said lawsuits against college students will continue.

Cary Sherman, the association's president, said the industry will continue to seek out illegal file sharers, even after 405 students around the nation were charged with direct copyright infringement Wednesday. The students will be fined $750 for each MP3 file illegally downloaded through an extremely fast private research network known as Internet2.

CSU is connected to the Internet2 network, but it was not one of the universities involved in the lawsuits.

The Recording Industry Association of America filed several federal lawsuits Wednesday because of "an emerging epidemic of music theft," costing their company large sums of money.

"We've seen estimates from third parties ranging from $700 million to several billion per year in the U.S. alone," Sherman said in a national online conference Wednesday.

The conference involved more than 47 editors from various college newspapers across the nation and was designed to bring to light and clarify the charges.

"For a serious downloader (or uploader), that can add up to a lot of money," Sherman said.

Sherman said each student was selected based on the extremity of the number of downloads. The average student sued had an average of 2,300 MP3 files, with the largest user having downloaded 13,600 files.

Sherman said the impact of the illegal downloads on the recording industry is considerable because songwriters are receiving only half the royalties they used to receive. Artists are being dropped from labels, new artists are not being signed and record stores are closing. However, when it comes to purchasing music, money is an issue for college students.

"I think it's unfair for both sides," said Terra Mae Livesay, a senior speech communication major. "I understand that's how artists make their living, but at the same time I don't have the money to spend on a CD. I'm either going to download songs or not buy music at all."

The recent lawsuits are not, however, the end of the RIAA's actions. For students who continue to use Internet2 to share files illegally, the RIAA will continue filing lawsuits.

"We will definitely be bringing additional actions in the future," Sherman said. "People who continue to engage in illegal uploading and downloading after they've learned that the use of i2hub on Internet2 for this purpose is illegal are appropriate targets in future rounds."

However, this and other MP3 lawsuits will not deter some student from sharing files in the future. Some even take extra precautions to keep from being caught.

Some people believe the 405 total students is a small percentage of the total college population.

"Four hundred and five students from18 universities is nothing for a percentage," said David Covill, a senior computer science major. "I download constantly."

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