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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

College receives prelitigation letters from RIAA

Fifteen Ithaca College students received prelitigation notices today from the Recording Industry Association of America for illegal file sharing.
David Weil, director of Web, Systems and Departmental Services, said the college received the letters yesterday from Apogee, the college’s Internet service provider, which identified 15 IP addresses within the college’s network that had infringed copyright law.

Weil said the individuals have 30 days to contact the RIAA and to pay a settlement fee before a lawsuit is filed. Weil said anyone who receives a letter should seek legal consul.

“This is a legal proceeding,” he said. “The RIAA will certainly have their lawyers so you sort of want to be on equal footing.”

Weil said this is the second wave of letters from the RIAA. The college received 20 notices last March.

The RIAA began sending out this month’s letters last week. Weil said it affected 22 colleges and 396 students across the country.

“The RIAA has made it very clear that they will continue to pursue this and that this has been an effective tactic,” he said.

He said the college and Apogee have not provided the RIAA with any names or identifying information needed to file a lawsuit but would do so if the RIAA issued a subpoena. Weil said the college was issued a subpoena in March for the names of the individuals who chose not to settle.

Michael Leary, assistant director of the Office of Judicial Affairs, said last year, students who chose to settle paid about $3,000, which did not include legal fees. He said an individual who chooses not to settle out of court could be charged $750 for each copyright violation.

In October, the RIAA sent 124 take-down notices to the college, warning students to remove illegally obtained material from their computers.

Weil said 10 of the students who received prelitigation notices today also received a take-down letter, but five had no prior warning.

He said the violations occurred as far back as mid-March, and the number of files on the individuals’ computers ranged from 65 files to 1,350.

Leary said students were sent the letter from the RIAA, a letter about violating college conduct code and a letter to explain the proceedings.

In addition to charges by the RIAA, students face consequences for violating the college’s conduct code.

“Each time a violation happens you could get a stronger consequence,” Leary said. “Things go from written warning to probation.”

Dave Maley, associate director of media relations, said just because students did not receive a letter in this wave or the last, they should not think they are in the clear.

“[The RIAA] is targeting students,” he said.