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Updated 5:00 PM March 16, 2007




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  Recording Industry association to file lawsuit
Latest action prompts reminders about the dangers of file sharing

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has identified additional people who are alleged to have engaged in unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing on the Internet, and more than a dozen of those in the latest crackdown are U-M students.

RIAA began an international campaign about three years ago to prosecute people who illegally upload copyrighted material, leaving their computers vulnerable for others to find and upload the files.

In this latest effort RIAA has begun to target college students in particular, says Jack Bernard, assistant general counsel, Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

"This means that students who engage in unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing are more likely than ever to be identified and sued by RIAA," Bernard says.

"The University of Michigan does not condone unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing. Students who engage in it are violating a variety of University policies, including the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the Proper Use of Information Resources, and the ResComp Conditions of Use," he says.

The association is able to track file sharers through IP addresses. Although the University has a policy against giving out the identities of computer users, it must comply with the law when presented with a valid subpoena that seeks to track down the alleged offenders, Bernard says. In the current round, the University is in the process of identifying and notifying the individuals involved.

Most students identified in previous sweeps have settled these lawsuits out-of-court, typically for $4,000-$4,500.

Students or staff who have installed peer-to-peer file sharing programs on their computers and are concerned that they might be unwittingly sharing files should visit a University of Chicago Web page that describes how to disable file sharing on a variety of programs (http://

For information on the University's policy go to

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