RIAA chats about illegal downloading

Heather Vitale

Students face consequences from industry

The message is simple – anyone can be caught.

Steven Marks, Recording Industry Association of America’s general counsel and vice president, and RIAA President Cary Sherman held an online chat yesterday to discuss the illegal downloading on college campuses. Kent State was ranked 17th on the RIAA’s worst college offenders list this year.

“We want you to enjoy our music – but we’d like you to do it legally,” Sherman said.

For students who get caught, letters are sent out informing the university of a copyright infringement lawsuit. The letter lists the IP address identifying the student engaged in the activity. This is the first step of a lawsuit against downloading copyrighted material.

The university must inform the student of the pending lawsuit. The student then has 20 days to settle out of court. If the suit goes forward, the student is subject to copyright infringement penalties.

“Holding people responsible through legal actions has proven the best deterrent to this continued illegal and harmful activity,” Marks said.

The RIAA hopes that by reminding people stealing music is illegal it can force them to think twice about what they are doing. Any user can be the subject of a lawsuit. There is also no set limit as to how many files a student has to download to be charged with a suit.

“We hope that students will explore the legitimate digital music markets so that artists and labels can be paid for their music and continue to create more music in the future,” Marks said.

Contact technology reporter Heather Vitale at [email protected].