RIAA Files New Round of Lawsuits, Targets University Students for Uploading

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a new round of 745 copyright infringement lawsuits against users of online file-sharing programs, including three Harvard network users, the organization announced Friday.

According to RIAA Spokesperson Jenni R. Engebretsen, the new litigation includes 75 suits targeting users of university networks for allegedly sharing copyrighted music on i2hub, a software program that allows users to upload and download files over the intercollegiate network Internet2.

These lawsuits were filed in “John Doe” format, meaning that the RIAA knows only the IP addresses of the defendants at the time of the filing. The organization typically then subpoenas each defendant’s university in order to find out the names of the alleged copyright infringers.

The new suits bring the total number of Harvard students sued by the RIAA since the organization began filing lawsuits for online file-sharing to 21.

Copyright infringement suits are “not a new development for any of these schools [targeted in the latest round of litigation],” Engebretsen said, adding that “many of them have had students sued in round after round” of lawsuits.

She said the RIAA’s goal is not to completely eliminate music piracy, but to reduce it to a manageable level.

“Without question, these lawsuits have helped to arrest the tremendous growth of illegal peer to peer use,” Engebretsen said.

In addition to Harvard, 16 other schools had their network users sued in the latest round of litigation. The schools are: Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Southern California.