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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    RIAA changes piracy tactics

    If you’re worried about getting slapped with a huge fine for downloading all your favorite songs off Limewire, you can now breathe a little easier.

    Rather than suing individuals who illegally share songs via peer-to-peer programs, the Recording Industry Association of America has switched gears and begun to seek to deter illegal music-swapping by working with Internet service providers to identify and e-mail offenders asking them to stop lest they risk losing their Internet services.

    “”Will this prevent piracy any better? No. It’ll piss people off less. Suing your customers is not a terribly smooth PR move,”” said Dan Lee, director of copyright and scholarly communications at the UA Library. “”I think what the recording industry needs to do is find a new business model and they’re very, very slowly getting there. Apple certainly helped them along by creating iTunes.””

    The RIAA began its campaign of policing illegal music file-sharing back in 2003.

    College students accounted for more than 1.3 billion illegal music downloads in 2006, according to market research firm NPD.

    Some UA students said they believe that the RIAA’s past and present enforcement tactics are unfair to college students.

    “”(RIAA) shouldn’t waste time individually stopping every one person when there are bigger things going on,”” said pre-business sophomore David Manng. “”Especially when people don’t even use (file-sharing) to get a lot of music, just like one or two, it’s ridiculous.””

    UA music graduate student Christopher Habeeb-louks said that it’s good that ISPs are taking a more active role in prosecuting illegal activity, and that legal use of services such as Limewire prove invaluable in helping new musicians expose their music.

    “”As a musician myself, I appreciate it when people don’t steal my product,”” Habeeb-louks said. “”You should be able to go on and see some free concerts, you should be able to stream some free media and you should be able to download an album if you want to. You just pay what you can at the time and I think that’s really working for a lot of artists.””

    The UA received more than 600 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices during the 2008 academic year in regards to people using the campus network to illegally share different forms of digital media, Lee said.

    “”It’s more than the RIAA. It’s the movies, television, games, software, it’s a full range,”” he said. “”A few years ago there were actually more from the movies and TV than from the recording industry, but last year it was the recording industry.””

    A DMCA takedown notice is a letter sent to an ISP by the content owner informing the ISP that illegal file-sharing activity is occurring on its network at a specific IP address. The user is then located using the IP address, and the ISP is asked to remove or disable the user’s access to that content.

    “”If the person who has the files up claims to have them up legally, there’s a process to get it back up, but so far no one here has ever come back to me and said that’s what they need to do,”” Lee said.

    Any member of the UA community who unlawfully uses the university’s computer/network resources is subject to temporary or permanent deactivation of that access, expulsion from school, termination of employment, fines and/or imprisonment, According to the UA University Information Technology Services Acceptable Use Policy.

    “”Years ago (file-sharing) was (in) the dorms primarily. That’s really cut back. The dorms have done a really good job of monitoring that and staying on top of things,”” Lee said. “”Overwhelmingly it’s on the wireless network.””

    Despite the RIAA’s goals to tone down illegal file-sharing, UA pre-business sophomore Mason Smith said that in the end it won’t make a difference.

    “”No matter what you do, no matter what law you implement, there’s going to be that person who doesn’t care and will still use those programs,”” Smith said.

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