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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    RIAA accuses students at UA

    Fourteen UA students may find themselves in court with the Recording Industry Association of America, as a federal judge agreed to subpoena the UA to turn over their personal information.

    The RIAA filed a complaint Feb. 21 in U.S. District Court, accusing the students of copyright infringement and illegally downloading or sharing music files over the Internet.

    UA spokesman Johnny Cruz said the UA had not yet received the subpoena, but would notify the students before releasing their information to the RIAA.

    The UA received pre-litigation settlement letters from the RIAA on Dec. 6, part of hundreds sent to universities around the country, in an effort to crackdown on illegal file-sharing activity on college campuses.

    The RIAA Comprehensive Anti-Piracy Campaign, launched in 2006, identifies individuals illegally downloading files through their IP address.

    The letters from the RIAA informed UA officials that 14 students illegally shared or downloaded files on the UA network in November, said Dan Lee, copyright librarian.

    “”Most of the notices I had to deal with were from UA Wi-Fi users around campus and from fraternities and sororities,”” he said. “”But again, we can’t confirm with 100 percent accuracy until we see the subpoena.””

    The RIAA links downloading music without its permission, akin to shoplifting.

    “”The illegal downloading of music is just as wrong as shoplifting from a local convenience store – and the impact on those who create music and bring it to fans is equally devastating,”” according to the RIAA’s official Web site.

    Samir Mukhida, a freshman majoring in molecular and cellular biology, disagrees and thinks music should be free and available to download.

    “”The music industry, the artists, they make so much money everywhere else, through concerts and merchandise, and any real artist knows that,”” he said.

    The UA was able to identify nine of the individuals by tracking down the IP address, but did not forward the settlement letters to them, in compliance with UA policy, Lee said.

    The UA is not required by law to send out any pre-litigation letters, which would give students the option of settling before the RIAA takes them to court. The students facing the lawsuit, don’t know yet, since no official names have been released.

    The UA doesn’t forward the pre-litigation letters to the students as part of a policy adopted after Carla Stoffle, dean of libraries, led a campus group in studying the pros and cons in doing so, Lee said.

    “”If we forward the letters to students, we’re encouraging them to settle and to take on the role of an attorney,”” Lee said.

    Internet service providers, such as the UA’s Wi-Fi service, are protected from liability from their users under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, passed in 1998.

    When illegal activity occurs, companies like the RIAA will notify the UA with an IP address, which university officials will then track down, Lee said.

    The IP address identifies the building on campus and the network manager responsible for Internet activity in that building, he said.

    Spencer Brown, a pre-business freshmen, said he’s never downloaded music illegally and doesn’t think other students should.

    “”I don’t blame the record industry because they aren’t getting paid for the music that’s downloaded,”” he said, adding that using other people’s iTunes and buying CDs “”isn’t that bad.””

    The UA was subpoenaed in the spring of 2004, marking Arizona’s first ever prosecution of an IP case, according to Wildcat archives.

    Parvin Dhaliwal, now a senior in health sciences was sentenced in Phoenix to three months deferred imprisonment, three years probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,400 fine for the possession of pirated movies and music on his computer in Mesa, Ariz. according to Wildcat archives.

    Andrew Shepherd, a political science sophomore, said students should just be more careful with where they download their music.

    “”The record industry is wrong for trying to prosecute people for this to begin with, but students are dumb for downloading music illegally on the UA’s network,”” he said.

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