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RIAA CEO Joins Tenn. Governor and State Music Leaders in Welcoming Enactment of First-Ever Campus Downloading Bill

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed into law today a bill aimed at curbing the disproportionate amount of music theft occurring on state campus networks via peer-to-peer (p2p) services. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman & CEO Mitch Bainwol, along with several other members of the music community, participated in the signing ceremony and welcomed the enactment of the legislation, SB 3794, which passed the state legislature earlier this year.

“It's fitting that on the day the world focuses on Nashville and country music that Tennessee would take the lead in protecting the creativity that this state so uniquely inspires,” said Bainwol. “We have all seen the effects illegal downloading has had on Music Row – too many record stores have been shuttered and too many songwriters are out of the business of writing songs.  This bill, the first of its kind in the nation, addresses the issue of campus music theft in a state where the impact is felt more harshly than most.”

Specifically, the bill requires that Tennessee public and private colleges and universities exercise appropriate means to ensure that computers connected to their campus network are not being abused for the purpose of illegally downloading and distributing copyrighted material through p2p file-sharing programs. Upon a proper analysis of the network, those institutions are required to implement technological support and develop and enforce a computer network usage policy to effectively limit the number of unauthorized transmissions of copyrighted works.

A 2007 Student Monitor survey found that more than half of college students download music and movies illegally. The Institute for Policy Innovation (www.ipi.org) recently estimated that the global theft of sound recordings cost the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in lost revenue and more than 71,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages to U.S. workers.

Schools that have implemented robust technological tools have not only reported seeing a dramatic reduction in the amount of copyright violations occurring on the campus network but a significant amount in savings.  A senior administrator at the University of Utah, for example, testified in 2007 before Congressional hearing that after implementing certain technologies to curb instances of music theft, his school received 90 percent fewer notices of copyright theft and saved more than $1.2 million per year in Internet bandwidth charges and an estimated $70,000 per year in personnel costs.

Upon developing and installing technological support for their network, University of Florida officials reported experiencing a rapid decline in bandwidth overload due to the drop-off in p2p use among its students. Because of this drop-off, administrators were able to delay server upgrades, resulting in savings of $1.5 million.

“We commend Governor Bredesen, Senator Tim Burchett, Rep. Rinks and all the cosponsors of the legislation for their leadership on this important issue, which will not only benefit those who care about music but American creativity and jobs,” said Bainwol.

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

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