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RIAA Pre-Lawsuit Letters Go to 22 Campuses in New Wave of Deterrence Program

Students Caught For Illegal File-Trafficking at Ohio University, Cornell, University of Michigan, William & Mary, Oklahoma State, Among Other Schools

New Program Invigorates Campus Conversations About Consequences For Illegal Downloading

WASHINGTON – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), on behalf of the major record companies, today sent a third wave of 413 pre-litigation settlement letters to 22 universities.

In February, the RIAA launched new deterrence and education initiatives focused on illegal file trafficking on college campuses – a significant escalation and expansion of the industry’s ongoing efforts, coupled with the implementation of a new process that gives students the opportunity to resolve copyright infringement claims against them at a discounted rate before a formal lawsuit is filed. Each pre-litigation settlement letter informs the school of a forthcoming copyright infringement suit against one of its students or personnel and requests that university administrators forward that letter to the appropriate network user.

In the third wave of this new initiative, the RIAA today sent letters in the following quantities to 22 schools, including: Bates College (7 pre-litigation settlement letters), Brown University (12), Central Michigan University (24), Colby College (5), College of William & Mary (12), Cornell University (19), Fairfield University (15), Florida International University (16), Indiana University (28), Keene State University (19), Kent State University (19), Morehead State University (10), Ohio University (50), Oklahoma State University (16), University of Massachusetts – Amherst (32), University of Maryland System (25),University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (23), University of New Hampshire (17), University of New Mexico (16), University of Pennsylvania (17), University of Rochester (22), and Williams College (9).

“Without question, this new enforcement initiative has invigorated a meaningful conversation on college campuses about music theft, its consequences and the numerous ways to enjoy legal music,” said Steven Marks, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, RIAA. “We hope that fans on campuses and administrators recognize the extraordinary legal marketplace for music online now. The question we ask of students is this: with high-quality legal music options available for free or deeply discounted, why take the twin risks of exposing your computer to viruses or spyware by downloading from an illegal site or exposing yourself to a costly lawsuit?”

A survey by Student Monitor from spring 2006 found that more than half of college students download music and movies illegally, and according to market research firm NPD, college students alone accounted for more than 1.3 billion illegal music downloads in 2006. While college students represented only 10 percent of the sample in the new online NPD study, they accounted for 26 percent of all music downloading on P2P networks and 21 percent of all P2P users. Furthermore, college students surveyed by NPD reported that more than two-thirds of all the music they acquired was obtained illegally.

These enforcement actions come in addition to the lawsuits that the RIAA continues to file on a rolling basis against those engaging in music theft via commercial Internet accounts


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.

Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy