RIAA sues two more students

    Recording companies charged two more unidentified UCSD students with illegally sharing copyrighted music through a specialized, high-speed university network known as Internet2 in a second wave of lawsuits filed in federal court late last week.

    The new charges bring the total number of campus defendants accused of file sharing to 27, adding to the 25 initial suits that were first made public last month.

    Recording Industry Association of America President Cary Sherman backed away from his suggestion in April that the industry would not target more than 25 students from any single college campus.

    “As long as students continue to corrupt this specialized academic network for the flagrant theft of music, we will continue to make it clear that there are consequences for these unlawful actions,” he stated in a press release announcing the new filings. “With the multitude of legal music alternatives available to students today, there is simply no excuse for this ongoing illegal downloading on college campuses.”

    Court records listing the IP addresses of the new defendants or the songs they are accused of sharing were not immediately available.

    However, RIAA spokeswoman Jenni Engebretsen said the newest suits target users of the popular “i2hub” application.

    Recording companies have already secured out-of-court settlements with approximately 70 of the 405 students charged last month.

    While the students targeted in the initial suits shared an average of 2,300 songs each, the two newest defendants kept far fewer songs on their computer, though the number was still “egregiously” large, Engebretsen said.

    However, UCSD has not yet received subpoenas seeking to identify the students charged in the first wave of suits, according to Academic Computing Services Director Tony Wood, meaning that their exact identities are likely still unknown to RIAA.

    Because the suits were among hundreds of others filed in different federal court jurisdictions, Engebretsen said it was difficult to predict a timeline for proceedings in each case.

    Wood did say that ResNet had turned over records in early May in response to subpoenas issued by the Motion Picture Association of America, which filed a separate federal claim against two UCSD students for illegally distributing movies.

    MPAA’s action accuses two students, whose IP addresses have already been disconnected, of uploading the movies “Be Cool” and “Hotel Rwanda” in late March and early April, respectively.

    Engebretsen said the RIAA suits have been effective at reducing peer-to-peer file-sharing, forcing students to think twice before engaging in the illegal activity.

    “There is no doubt that our initial round of lawsuits has created a heightened awareness of this problem with both students and universities,” she said.

    The university, however, has not made any changes to its Internet-use policies nor has it blocked access to peer-to-peer software, as the RIAA had urged, according to Wood.

    “There have been no policy changes related to this subject and I don’t know of any in the works,” he stated in an e-mail.

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