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FC: RIAA to P2P users: the gloves are coming off

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 19:28:22 -0500 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: RIAA to P2P users: the gloves are coming off Send reply to:


Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 08:52:16 -0800 (PST) From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <jhall@astron.Berkeley.EDU> To: Dave Farber <>, Declan McCullagh <> Subject: chron of higher ed: riaa lawsuits Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.44.0304040847220.10728-100000@irk> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=X-UNKNOWN Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

[Dave, Declan: this appears to be the first lawsuit against students directly. And the RIAA seems to have royally pissed off the universities as well. The damages seem to be large:"The lawsuits ask for $150,000 for each of the dozens of recordings, listed by title in the complaint, that the students allegedly used illegally."]

Friday, April 4, 2003

Recording Industry Sues 4 Students for Allegedly Trading Songs Within College Networks By SCOTT CARLSON

The Recording Industry Association of America filed lawsuits on Thursday against four college students who allegedly were offering access to copyrighted music files within their institutions' networks.

Joseph Nievelt, a student at Michigan Technological University; Daniel Peng, a student at Princeton University; and Aaron Sherman and Jesse Jordan, both students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, were named in separate suits filed in federal district courts in Michigan, New Jersey, and New York. The institutions were not sued.

According to the complaints, the students have "taken a network created for higher learning and academic pursuits and converted it into an emporium of music piracy." In a news release, the recording industry alleges that the students were engaging in copyright infringement, each offering from 27,000 to more than a million songs to other students.

The lawsuits ask for $150,000 for each of the dozens of recordings, listed by title in the complaint, that the students allegedly used illegally.

The students could not be reached for comment.

Bob Gilreath, the telecommunications engineer at Michigan Tech, was shocked and angered by the lawsuits. His university has a long record of cooperating with the recording industry, he said. The institution runs copyright-education programs and routinely shuts down the Internet access of students who share copyrighted material. He said that the recording industry had never notified the university about Mr. Nievelt's alleged infringement.

"We have had this relationship with them for years, and for them to come in and do what they are doing here -- taking a different route without going through our channels -- is basically flabbergasting," he said. He added that the lawsuits will "send the wrong message to colleges and universities" that are trying to help the recording industry stop file sharing. "In these tight budget situations, [colleges] are going to say, Why should we spend time and money on this when they are going to go ahead and sue anyway?"

Officials at Princeton offered similar complaints. "We have been very responsible in terms of not allowing illegal sharing on campus," said Lauren Robinson-Brown, the university's director of communications. "We have a procedure, and it would be encouraging if that procedure is followed."

At all three institutions, the students named in the lawsuits could face disciplinary hearings.

The action by the recording industry differs slightly from the organization's past complaints about programs like KaZaA, which allow users to share files internationally. The new lawsuits are aimed at users of file-sharing programs that limit searches and users to computers within a specific network. A student user of such a program might be able to swap songs or videos only with other students on a college's residential network, for example. One such program, Phynd, has operated not only at RPI, but also at the University of Connecticut and the University of Maryland at College Park.

Cary Sherman, president of the recording-industry association, did not respond to calls from The Chronicle. But in a letter mailed on Thursday to Graham B. Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University at University Park, Mr. Sherman complained that "as Internet bandwidth becomes increasingly congested and slows to a crawl, students are likely to turn to on-campus systems instead."



From: "Danny Yavuzkurt" <> To: <> Subject: RIAA to P2P users: the gloves are coming off Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 14:30:53 -0500

Again, you've probably seen this already - but it's worth a shot, nonetheless. The RIAA has finally done what everyone was predicting they'd do - they've picked a few scapegoats to blame the P2P 'problem' on, and they're suing them within an inch of their lives. Four college students, to be precise. From good schools, too - two from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one from Princeton, and one from Michigan Technical. For $150,000 per 'violation'. Oh, and don't forget about the potential jail time.. since the NET act makes it possible, if the 'value' of the 'stolen' goods is over $1000... and I'm sure they'll claim it is, since the article quotes 'millions of songs'.

What's also interesting here is that they're being charged with distributing the songs not over the Internet in general, but over the internal university networks, using Phynd, FlatLAN, or Direct Connect ( The universities don't usually crack down on these services because they don't affect the outgoing or incoming bandwidth from their Internet point of presence (which they have to pay for). I know many people personally who use Direct Connect on the PSU campus (remember that letter Leto sent you a few days back, sent to all the PSU students?..) - so, this represents a significant change from trying to kill not only the 'main' P2P services like Kazaa and Grokster, which operate on the Internet at large, but also anyone who wants to swap files with others, even over a LAN..


Note: There's also a big discussion about this on Slashdot (

Article text: (Sorry this isn't formatted more pleasingly, but Outlook Express has developed this nasty habit of crashing whenever I try to add return characters to large blocks of text. I'm moving to Eudora.)

Posted on Fri, Apr. 04, 2003

Students accused of piracy RECORD SUIT SEEKS $150,000 PER SONG By Dawn C. Chmielewski Mercury News

The recording industry filed copyright infringement lawsuits Thursday against four college students, accusing them of setting up Napster-like file-swapping services on their campus networks. The civil suits claim the students exploited academic resources to illicitly trade as many as a million songs without permission from record labels or artists. Then, they publicly bragged about their exploits. ``This is a particularly flagrant way to illegally distribute millions of copyrighted works over the Internet,'' said Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, the industry's trade association. The students operated ``a sophisticated network designed to enable widespread thievery,'' he said. The recording industry telegraphed its campus crackdown in October putting 2,300 university administrators on notice to curb student behavior -- or face legal consequences. Major universities, including Stanford and Pennsylvania State, responded with tough new computer use policies, treating music and movie downloads with the same seriousness as other intellectual property crimes, such as plagiarism. In November, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., went so far as to seize the computers of 100 midshipmen accused of possessing pirated music. ...

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