Record labels clamp down on student downloading in USA and Taiwan

November 2007

Internet, record labels

US Universities have been counting the cost of policing illegal music downloading by students after being contacted by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on intellectual property.¬†The University of Winconsin at Madison (UW) said that it had spent more than US $300,000 responding to cease and desist leters from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and to a lesser extent the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Staff have to deal with cease and desist letters, follow up with students, notify the RIAA when the music is deleted and secure the student’s¬†agreement not to copy again. The University also spends time and money publicising the implications of copyright theft. Last year UW received 1,158 cease and desist letters from the RIAA. Purdue University, which made the top 10 lists of both the RIAA and MPAA for unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, says tracking down alleged offenders and verifying identities has been a “significant cost to the university” with each case taking 3 – 4 hours to properly deal with at an estimated $50 per hour cost. Last year Purdue received 1,068 notices form the RIAA and 873 from the MPAA. In mid-September, the RIAA issued a new wave of 403 pre-litigation settlement letters to 22 universities nationwide, including 62 letters to parties at UW System schools where users have failed to comply with cease-and-desist orders. Twenty-eight of those were sent to students at UW-Madison. The letters give students the chance to resolve copyright infringement claims against them at a discounted rate before a formal lawsuit is filed.

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