RIAA, Congress Cracking Down on Music Piracy at Colleges

Published: May 15, 2007

LINCOLN, Neb. – Sixty-one University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) students have received letters from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) threatening lawsuits over music illegally downloaded on campus.

The letters are presenting students with the option of settling out of court for $3,000 to avoid litigation. Students opting to challenge the RIAA in court face minimum damages of $750 for each copyrighted recording shared if they lose.

While letter recipients feel they are being bullied into unreasonable payments that only a small percentage of those guilty have to pay, the RIAA feels it needs to change common attitudes toward pirating music. According to an Associated Press report, money from the settlements is reinvested in educational programs to spread the word that song sharing can have severe consequences.

Having been told 32 more letters are on their way, UNL officials are looking into an educational campaign next fall to warn students of the dangers in illegally downloading music.

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The problem of music piracy has also received Congressional attention. On May 1, members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ education and judiciary committees sent letters to 19 universities regarding illegal music downloads by students. The letters warned schools that if they do not take measures to curb piracy, legislators will be forced to act.

The letters also included a survey regarding data and network integrity that university officials should complete so that Congress can create a list of best practices to prevent illegal downloads.

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