RIAA Notices On The Rise At Duke

This story was written by Emmeline Zhao, The Duke Chronicle


DukeUniversity has received more than 1,000 infringement notices from the Recording Industry Association of America this year-already a couple hundred more than last year, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said.

In addition, the RIAA has sent Duke more than 40 preservation notices, 21 settlement offers and eight subpoenas, Moneta wrote in an e-mail to students Wednesday. Just this semester, three civil lawsuits have been filed against students for copyright infringement.

Moneta said the increase in notices could be attributed to the RIAA focusing more attention on the University, and he suggested students take measures to deflect scrutiny of their Internet use.

"I don't support copyright theft," he said. "But the way to protect [yourself] at the very least is if you simply disable public access to your computer, you're protected."

Various levels exist for categorizing the severity of illegal file-sharing. Infringement notices simply require students to remove all copyright-infringing material. Preservation notices, however, request specific students' information from the University and may lead to early settlements-letters issued by the RIAA that state an amount the association is willing to accept for legal settlement.

Although settlement offers usually range from $3,000 to $5,000 per student, the University is not legally bound to forward these letters to students. Duke is, however, required to pass on information-like IP addresses-requested by court-ordered subpoena within 14 days of uncovering copyright infringement.

Aside from the possibility of legal tribulations, file-sharing programs consume large amounts of the University's bandwidth, slowing the network, Moneta said.

He added that though no plans are in place for an educational campaign about illegal file-sharing, he is open to ideas for such programs.

"It's not that we haven't talked about [RIAA litigation]-there have been articles, we discussed it at orientation," he said. "It's painful to open up a settlement letter-it's hard to fight. Duke students are relatively smart-there isn't anything they don't know about [file sharing]."
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