TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Students Pressured to Stop Illegal Downloads

Students Pressured to Stop Illegal Downloads

Yinka Adegoke, Reuters (
Wed, 28 Feb 2007 20:02:31 -0600

By Yinka Adegoke

The U.S. recording industry on Wednesday stepped up efforts to stop
college students from downloading pirated music online and offered
students a way to settle the disputes out of court.

The Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA, said it sent
400 letters to 13 U.S. universities advising of potential copyright
infringement lawsuits against students who use their computer networks
to swap songs they haven't paid for.

The industry group is asking the universities to notify students they
will be sued, but can settle the cases before any lawsuits are filed.
RIAA said it will send out hundreds of the letters each month in an
effort to stamp out music theft by students.

Previously, the group filed lawsuits against individuals who illegally
swapped songs on Internet-based networks like KaZaa and Limewire. The
music industry argues the practice has cost them millions of dollars.

More than 1 billion songs are swapped on such services each month,
according to Web tracking company Big Champagne.

The record industry, which has seen sales plunge by more than 23
percent between 2000 to 2006, wants music lovers to purchase digital
music over legal Web sites like Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store or
RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody.

A University of Richmond study found that more than half of college
students downloaded music and movies illegally, the RIAA said.

"We need to address this demographic," RIAA President Cary Sherman
said. "Remember that the habits that they form in college will stay
with them for a lifetime."

Under the settlement deal offered by RIAA, students would have to pay
a fine and sign a statement promising they would no longer download
music illegally.

Sean Foley, a student at Arizona State University, one of the schools
expecting RIAA's settlement letters, said, "I know students are active
users. But the record companies should be letting people use these
services rather than ban them."

Recipients of the letters can settle the cases online at a Web site
set up by the RIAA .

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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