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Business and Policy Areas
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Recent Actions on Campus Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

September 10, 2003

The pursuit of illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing continues to heat up this month. The Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA), which represents the major record companies and has spearheaded the attack on P2P sharing of music, filed suit against more than 250 individuals this week who are suspected of illegally sharing thousands of recorded audio tracks. Identities of the plaintiffs were not released, although officials have heavily targeted campuses for enforcement in the past.

The RIAA also announced an amnesty program that would allow violators to avoid liability if they admit past guilt, delete all illegal copies of copyrighted works, and file notarized affidavits promising not to share or copy music in the future. Details of the amnesty program can be found at the program’s Web site, http://www.musicunited.org/.

A joint committee of campus and entertainment industry officials released a white paper in August offering guidance on the copyright laws relating to P2P file sharing on college campuses. The white paper was developed to educate campus administrators on the details of copyright infringement of digitized audio and video files, specifically by those individuals using campus-based networks to host or obtain the files. The white paper, published by the American Council on Education, is located at http://www.acenet.edu/washington/legalupdate/2003/P2P.pdf.