RIAA slaps students with lawsuit

By Editing Staff
April 15, 2005
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed 405 lawsuits against students at 18 colleges across the US. The RIAA says these students were illegally sharing songs and films over the Internet2. They claim that 3,900 songs were available on the network. The RIAA said that each person sued downloaded an average of 2,300 songs.

Motion Picture Association of America has also filed several lawsuits, against students, but has declined to comment on the number of students sued. The MPAA claim that users of the Internet2 had swapped 99 terabytes of films per day. This is more then 15,000 full length films.

The Internet2 is a high speed network used by 207 US universities. It was designed to provide a high speed alternative for researchers and other educators to share information. The Internet2 allows for very high speed connections — a film can be downloaded in as little as 30 seconds, compared with approximately six hours over other high-speed connections, such as DSL.

Cary Sherman the president of the Recording Industry Association of America is quoted as saying that "Internet2 is increasingly becoming the network of choice for students looking to steal songs and other copyrighted works on a massive scale.”

Some have raised the issue of how the RIAA and MPAA gained access to the network, as it is a closed network environment for universities only. The Internet2 does not know how they gained access as they have not given them access or handed over any data. The RIAA will not say how it did the monitoring, but claims it was entirely legal

A spokesperson for the Internet2 told the Los Angeles Times that copyright infringement is prohibited under its rules, though its chief executive, Doug Van Houweling, in a separate interview admitted that he is aware that there is a lot of file-sharing going on. He also stated that it is possible to filter traffic so as to block illegal activity; however, it would slow the network's performance and they will not be doing it.