Recording industry threatens to sue over illegal file sharing

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

The recording industry association is threatening to file lawsuits against 12 individuals — possibly students or employees — who have allegedly taken part in copyright infringement by illegally sharing music files using the U’s Internet service.

Attorneys from the Recording Industry Association of America sent an e-mail to the U’s Office of Information Technology on May 16 requesting that it forward notifications of the copyright infringement claims to the 12 alleged infringers. The notifications describe the industry’s claims against the alleged infringers and offer a settlement of about $3,000 outside of court. If the alleged infringers are taken to court and found guilty, they could face a fine of approximately $75,000 per shared file.

An e-mail sent to students and staff from the U’s Office of General Counsel states that no information about any campus member will be shared until a legally valid subpoena or court order is received. The U will forward the industry’s notification to the alleged infringers as a courtesy to the students or employees and not as an agent of the industry, according to the e-mail.

The U could receive a subpoena or court order requesting contact information of the alleged infringers if notifications are not forwarded, or if the alleged infringers do not respond to the notifications.

There is a good chance the RIAA will send a valid subpoena requesting contact information about the alleged infringers, said Kevin Taylor, director of planning and policy for the U’s Office of Information Technology.

“If they can’t send us a subpoena that can hold up in court, we won’t give them information on someone,” Taylor said.

The Office of Information Technology receives copyright infringement notices on a daily basis, but Taylor said these are the first attempting to subpoena the university.

“It’s been happening around the country?I think they’re adjusting their approach to get more attention, it’s what this is all about,” he said.

The number of copyright complaints the office has received in the last two months has increased significantly because the industry wants to show that they’re serious about the issue, he said.

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