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Updated 4:00 PM May 18, 2004



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Recording industry subpoena arrives

The University has until May 20 to decide whether to comply with a court order to release the identities of nine people accused by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) of illegally uploading music files to the Internet.

The University received a subpoena more than a week ago seeking the names and contact information for individuals associated with specific Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

University policy and federal law prohibit the release of names and contact information of its computer users unless required to do so by law.

"If, after we review it, we determine that it is valid, we will be compelled to comply," Assistant General Counsel Jack Bernard says. His office will determine if the legal document follows appropriate procedures and if there is enough substance to the allegations to warrant disclosure of the identities.

The day before filing 532 lawsuits in March, RIAA sent President Mary Sue Coleman a message saying that members of the University community were among the alleged Internet file sharers to be sued in its third round of litigation. In many cases, RIAA filed what are called "John Doe" lawsuits because it had IP addresses of the alleged file sharers but not specific names.

The association announced at the end of last year that it would send subpoenas to universities and other Internet service providers seeking the identities of the individuals connected to specific computers on campuses.

To date, RIAA has filed more than 2,000 lawsuits against people it alleges have infringed the copyright of its membership. The most recent round of legal action was April 28, when 477 people were sued. Altogether, 14 colleges and universities have been targeted, including U-M and Michigan State University.

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