RIAA Sends “Pre-Litigation” Letters to 400 Students at 13 Universities

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The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wants to give
hundreds of college students an alternative to being sued for copyright infringement. A new site has been setup, P2PLawsuits.com, as a way for the RIAA to interface with these suspected students. The idea is that settlements out of court will be more of a convenience / cheaper for those who might otherwise find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit.

The RIAA is sending letters offering discounted settlements to 400 students at 13 universities. And that’s just the first round: the intention is for hundreds of these pre-litigation letters to go out to university computer users every month.

“The theft of music remains unacceptably high and undermines the industry’s ability to invest in new music… This is especially the case on college campuses,” explained RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol.

So how it works is through certain universities having agreed to cooperate in turning over student names to the RIAA: students associated with unauthorized downloads/uploads from university computers. These students are now expected to apply for a settlement online (and can even pay online) to avoid litigation. This plan assumes, of course, that students (best known for not having money) are in a position to pay.

The moral of the story? Don’t be involved in file sharing at the following universities:

Arizona State University, Marshall University, North Carolina State University, North Dakota State University, Northern Illinois University, Ohio University, Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, University of South Florida, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and University of Texas, Austin.

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