RIAA targets internal campus networks

— 7:50 PM on April 3, 2003

The RIAA has a new target in its war against rampant music piracy: internal campus networks. This story over at C|Net describes several lawsuits that the RIAA has just filed against students hosting Napster-like searching and indexing software on campus networks:

In its lawsuits, the RIAA compares the use of the campus search software--variously called "Phynd," "Flatlan" or "Direct Connect"--to the defunct Napster service, dubbing the services "local area Napster networks." In fact, the technology used by the three pieces of software varies widely, sometimes looking very different than the old Napster model.
Though the search and indexing tools aren't limited to use with MP3 swapping, the RIAA is claiming that the students in question are "operating a sophisticated network designed to enable widespread music thievery." While it does seem doubtful that students are running these networks solely for the purpose of legitimate file swapping, I can't see how the RIAA is going to be able to prove intent.

Honestly, I'm a little confused by the RIAA's latest move. For all their threats, it seems that the recording industry is either unable or unwilling to take on the daunting task of going after individual users who are violating copyrights. Aren't those users the ones who are really responsible for the "widespread music thievery" the RIAA seems so intent to curtail?

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