Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

March 21, 2007 10:40 ET

Music Theft at 23 Campuses Targeted in Second Wave of New Deterrence Program

WASHINGTON--(Collegiate Presswire - March 21, 2007) - Continuing its efforts to address the extensive music theft that persists on college campuses, the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA), on behalf of the major record companies, today sent a second wave of 405 pre-litigation settlement letters to 23 universities.

Last month, the RIAA launched new deterrence and education initiatives focused on illegal file trafficking on college campuses - a significant escalation and expansion of the industry's ongoing efforts, coupled with the implementation of a new process that gives students the opportunity to resolve copyright infringement claims against them at a discounted rate before a formal lawsuit is filed. Each pre litigation settlement letter informs the school of a forthcoming copyright infringement suit against one of its students or personnel and requests that university administrators forward that letter to the appropriate network user.

In the second wave of this new initiative, the RIAA today sent letters in the following quantities to 23 schools, including: Boston University (50 pre-litigation settlement letters), Columbia University (20), Dartmouth College (11), DePaul University (18), Drexel University (20), Ferris State University (17), Ithaca College(20), Purdue University (38), University of California - Berkeley (19), University of California - Los Angeles (21), University of California - Santa Cruz (17), University of Maine system (27), University of Nebraska - Lincoln (25), University of Wisconsin system (66, including the following individual campuses: Eau Claire, Madison, Milwaukee, Parkside, Platteville, Stevens Point, Stout, and Whitewater), Vanderbilt University (20), and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (16).

"This is not our preferred course, but we hope that students will understand the consequences of stealing music and that our partners in the college community will appreciate the proactive role they can play," said Cary Sherman, President, RIAA. "This is a program about defending our rights and providing the appropriate foundation for the legal marketplace to flourish. The pervasive theft of music on campus networks is nonetheless a shared problem for the industry and universities alike. The more that universities impart the right message to their students and protect the integrity of their computer networks, the less likely their students will be caught and sued for copyright theft."

Added Steven Marks, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the RIAA, "We're encouraged by the response of universities that are forwarding the pre-litigation settlement letters to students. Not every student will take advantage of this opportunity, but those that do get the benefit of a discounted settlement and no public mark on their record."

A survey by Student Monitor from Spring 2006 found that more than half of college students download music and movies illegally, and according to market research firm NPD, college students alone accounted for more than 1.3 billion illegal music downloads in 2006. While college students represented only 10 percent of the sample in the new online NPD study, they accounted for 26 percent of all music downloading on P2P networks and 21 percent of all P2P users. Furthermore, college students surveyed by NPD reported that more than two-thirds of all the music they acquired was obtained illegally.

These enforcement actions come in addition to the lawsuits that the RIAA continues to file on a rolling basis against those engaging in music theft via commercial Internet accounts.

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[The Recording Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States. In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conducts consumer, industry and technical research; and monitors and reviews state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond sales awards, as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.]

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