Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


RIAA issues next wave warning against piracy

The University of Wisconsin received another wave of
pre-litigation letters Friday from the Recording Industry Association of
America for students who have been illegally downloading music from the

After not being targeted in the last wave of pre-litigation
letters sent out the past February, the university received six letters from
the RIAA last week and is in the process of analyzing the allegations to figure
out who the students are, according to Brian Rust, UW Department of Information
Technology spokesperson.

UW periodically receives letters from the RIAA that claim
people using UW portals have been illegally downloading music and are being
targeted by the trade group for civil action.


The university must then hand over names and contact
information to the RIAA so they can pursue legal action. After fighting this
practice and refusing to comply with the RIAA, a U.S. District Court judge last
April ruled UW was legally obligated to provide the information.

UW also notifies the students they are being targeted and
offers them advice on how to handle the situation legally.

According to Rust, he does not know the guidelines the RIAA
uses to decide who to pursue for settlements, and they seem to be inconsistent.

“They’re going about this differently every time,”
Rust said.

Rust added some of the students who received pre-litigation
notices had received cease-and-desist letters at an earlier date and claimed to
have cooperated with the demands, but others never received cease-and-desist
orders to warn them to stop their illegal behavior.

“It’s not just inconsistent. … It’s confusing,”
Rust said.

According to Rust, this inconsistency may drive students to
just ignore the cease-and-desist letters or tell their friends to ignore them
because it does not matter if you comply or not, as you can still be targeted
for legal action.

Rust added he thinks schools are starting to treat the
pre-litigation letters with more skepticism and hesitation. They are
questioning whether the RIAA has the right to students’ information before it
has been proven they committed any crime.

When reached for comment, lawyers for the RIAA could only
confirm the UW System had received the pre-litigation letters.

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