Music Industry Takes Anti-Piracy Effort to Campus

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The Recording Industry Association of America is asking 13 universities to help identify students who might be illegally sharing copyrighted music. The RIAA says it will be suing many more students in the future.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And the recording industry is concerned about its own economic health, so it's closely monitoring the moves of college students. Once again, it's sending out hundreds of letters telling students they may be sued, part of a new attempt to stop them from illegally sharing music on university computer networks.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN: The Recording Industry Association doesn't have the names of those it claims are sharing music illegally. It only has their Internet addresses. So the association is sending its letters to the universities and asking them to forward the letters to the targeted students.

A total of 400 letters were sent to 13 schools. The letters warned individuals they will be sued for copywriting infringement but offers them a chance to resolve the matter in advance for a discounted penalty. Industry officials won't specify the amounts being sought. Cary Sherman is president of the Recording Industry Association.

Mr. CARY SHERMAN (President, Recording Industry Association of America): College students love music but they no longer buy it. And they feel like they can do the file sharing and giving away music to everybody with impunity. We want to let them know that this is illegal and that they actually take a risk when they engage in this behavior.

KAUFMAN: The students targeted in letters sent out this week include those attending Arizona State, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Southern California and the University of Texas. In the past few years, 18,000 computer users have been sued by the Recording Industry Association. About 1,000 of them are college students.

Association President Sherman suggests you can expect many more suits and settlements involving college students. The association plans to send out hundreds of these pre-litigation letters each month to university computer users.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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