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University raided in MP3 crackdown

Ronald Hanaki
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The Register covers the opening gambit.

A multinational recording-industry front group called the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has filed suit with the Tainan District Prosecutor’s Office against fourteen students at Taiwan’s National Chengkung University, accusing them of illegally copying and trading MP3 music files, the Taipei Times reports.

According to the paper, the industry group’s local collaborator, Li Jui-bin, claimed that copyright violations on university campuses is out of control, and that previous, non-aggressive efforts to discourage it had proven ineffective.

He indicated that scapegoating a handful of students would serve as a warning to others, and declared that the unfortunate fourteen will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The authorities against the students? Kinda like the sixties with rallies and everything. The Taipei Times follows the story by asking who is culpable for illegal file sharing?

While recent rulings of US courts against MP3.com and Napster have cast doubt on the future of the online MP3 music business, a debate has just begun in Taiwan over the legality of downloading MP3 files following a search at a university in southern Taiwan last week.

“If it is determined that it is illegal for students to download MP3 files for their own use, I guess over 90 percent of university students could be held liable for that,” said an electronic engineering postgraduate student at National Taiwan University, referring to the search by the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office last Wednesday.

The fallout continues after the Napster ruling. TR considers the future of file sharing in this well-written Technological Dissonance column.

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