Media Giants Go to Second Round Over Online Piracy

    Two media associations — the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America — have recently announced a campaign to combat Internet piracy over local area networks on college campuses.

    Ben Decamp/Guardian
    Music and movie companies are hounding colleges to regulate the use of local area networks, which allow students to illegally share music and other files with more anonymity.

    Both industry groups have expressed concern over the increase of movie and music pirating through college LANs.

    Last year, the RIAA sued hundreds of students using peer-to-peer programs, such as Limewire and Poisoned, to illegally download media. While P2P networks still remain the most popular file-sharing programs among Internet pirates, LAN piracy —through programs such as MyTunes or OurTunes — have become more widespread.

    Tony Wood, director of UCSD’s Academic Computing Services, said that local networks allow more anonymity for users.

    “Unlike the more familiar open P2P networks, these private networks are not readily discoverable — an invitation giving specific configuration information is needed to join,” Wood said.

    The allure of LAN systems is their obscurity, as they create “ad-hoc networks” within the campus, allowing transfers to occur without using the Internet.

    “In effect, groups of individuals are creating private P2P networks,” Woods stated in an e-mail.

    The RIAA sued four student LAN operators in April 2003 because of media piracy occurring across the networks.

    “We cannot ignore the growing misuse of campus LAN systems or the toll this means of theft is taking on our industry,” RIAA President Cary Sherman stated in a press release.

    In order to increase the pressure on LAN pirates, the RIAA and MPAA sent 40 letters to university presidents in 25 states. According to the associations, the letters are meant to “encourage administrators to review the use of their computer networks and, if appropriate, take steps to stop and prevent such theft.”

    Currently, UCSD has not received any of the 40 letters warning about LAN piracy, Woods said. Last year, the RIAA went through rounds of litigation with students at several universities including UCSD.

    An RIAA spokesman declined to discuss any potential or pending litigation, and said that the organization would not release which schools received the latest set of warnings.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal