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Tuesday, May 17, 2005
MPAA, RIAA Warn College of File Sharers


The letters do not signal a new wave of lawsuits, but contained internet protocol addresses of 21 network users suspected of illegal file sharing, and requested that users cease such acvity...

While the College typically receives approximately 25 so-called takedown notices each month containing the IP addresses of suspected file sharers, the two latest letters differ in several key ways, most importantly that they were sent directly to Wright, rather than the usual recipient, Ellen Young, the College's Digital Millennium Copyright holder.

RIAA President Cary Sherman and MPAA President Dan Glickman additionally both personally expressed concerns about file sharing over the College network to Wright in their respective letters. The RIAA letter contained a list of 19 IP addresses that had engaged in file sharing, while the MPAA letter contained two IP addresses.

Similar letters were sent to other college and university presidents around the country, though MPAA spokeswoman Anne Caliguiri did not know exactly how many were sent out.

"It is part of a crackdown," Caliguiri said. "Recently, college campuses have seen an increase in file swapping due to the availability of special advanced file sharing networks like i2hub. People who steal movies on the Internet believe they're anonymous, but they're wrong."

College General Counsel Bob Donin said that the College responded to the letters as it does to any takedown notice, by informing the users at the specified IP addresses of the notice and telling them to cease file sharing activities.

Despite the differences between the most recent letters and earlier ones, Donin said he did not believe that the notices foreshadowed legal action against the College, though students who use file sharing programs do put themselves at risk.

"I don't think that it signals an intention to file lawsuits against colleges. [The RIAA and MPAA] are already filing a large number of lawsuits against individual students and other users of college networks," Donin said. "Students and others need to understand the serous consequences of file sharing."

In light of the recent notices, the College is considering implementing new methods to decrease file sharing, Donin said, though he declined to discuss any specifics.

"We always take action when we're notified of copyright infringement involving our network as long as we can identify the user," Donin said. "We are also looking at additional technological, educational and disciplinary measures that might be taken to deal with infringing activity, but no decisions have been made about that yet."


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