April 12, 2005 10:16 AM PDT

RIAA cracks down on Internet2 file swapping

The Recording Industry Association of America said Tuesday it would file suit against students at 18 universities accused of trading files on the supercharged Internet2 network.

The suits, to be filed Wednesday, are the first to focus on the next-generation research network operated by universities. The i2Hub file-swapping service has operated for a year on campuses that are connected to Internet2.

Recording industry executives said i2Hub had become a serious problem over time as students believed they could not be observed trading files.

"i2Hub has been seen as a safe haven, and what we wanted to do was puncture that misconception," said Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA. "This has been a subversion of the research purposes for which Internet2 was developed."

The suits mark a substantial expansion of the record labels' approach to universities, which have been a core location of the file-swapping population since the emergence of Napster in early 1999.

The RIAA has already sued the operators of university-based file-swapping networks on three campuses, and has consistently highlighted lawsuits at colleges as part of its larger campaign against music traders.

Record labels also have given discounts to authorized services such as Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, Cdigix and Ruckus to offer cheap, legal music subscriptions on campus, hoping to attract students away from peer-to-peer networks.

i2Hub is operated by a company started by former University of Massachusetts student Wayne Chang. The company has taken advantage of a feature at universities that lets student transmissions--e-mail, Web surfing or peer to peer--default to Internet2 if both sides of a connection were connected to that network. Thus, two students at Internet2 universities who wanted to trade files would automatically see their traffic flow over the fast network, instead of the ordinary Internet.

That has meant that songs and videos could be downloaded extraordinarily quickly--just minutes for a full-length movie, and 20 seconds for an average song, assuming perfect conditions.

In a statement following news of the lawsuits, the company said, "The i2Hub Organization (i2Hub) does not condone activities and actions that breach the rights of copyright owners."

The RIAA said its suits will be filed against no more than 25 students at each of the 18 universities: Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California.

As with its other lawsuits against individual file-swappers, the recording industry group said it is filing anonymous "John Doe" lawsuits, based on individual computer users' Internet addresses. The identities of the students will be determined later though a court process.

Sherman said that no suits are being filed against the operators of the i2Hub network for now, although the group does have the names of the individuals who created the service. He declined to give details on how the RIAA gathered the data on the individuals who are being sued.

Since launching as a pure file-trading network, i2Hub has expanded into other services, such as textbook exchanges.

According to Sherman, the Motion Picture Association of America will also take legal action against "several" i2Hub file-swappers. An MPAA representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

The MPAA opened discussions with Internet2 officials last year, hoping to be help test high-speed content delivery on the network, as well as monitor it for piracy. Sherman said he would like the RIAA to join those discussions.


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RIAA Never Learns
Obviously, RIAA still prefers to spend tons of money to hire lawyers and sue students and collect their money this way. What a business model :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
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RIAA on I2?
I'm a bit curious as to the level of participation of the RIAA in the Internet2 project. I don't see them listed on the membership pages anywhere. From what I can tell corporate entities have to pay to play - like to the tune of $27,000+. Sounds like another potential hack back scheme to me.

I think I2 should just ban the RIAA access to I2 since this is just a prototype - - unless of course the RIAA has paid theyre dues in support of I2.
Posted by Inetsec (40 comments )
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yeah yeah yeah
It was a typo.
Posted by Inetsec (40 comments )
Link Flag
RIAA = Crap
Enough is enough, only way to win a battle like this is to hack-back. The way I see it, damn the man that lies dead on the ground! The more they sue, the more I swap!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RIAA=BS Government Crap
leave us alone. its all about the money nowadays.go take down something that matters like drugs and poverty.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Umm. . .
You do realize that the RIAA isn't a government agency, right? And that this article has nothing to do with the crap they're trying to push through Congress, right? This is just them suing some copyright violators who were using a network they thought they were safe on.

But hey, I'm all for the RIAA tackling drugs and poverty! Maybe they can sue them out of existence!
Posted by (282 comments )
Link Flag
Litigation as a bussiness model
Does anyone know what the RIAA actually does? I had never of them before they started suing poor people who probably don't have money to buy today's expensive $20 CDs. They seem to be nothing more than a litigation company, whose only products are lawsuits. They think they are protecting artists by suing their fans, but instead they are very very slowly destoying the fan base. Let's face it, just one artist wins more than $100,000 in just one concert, in one night. That's more than I win in a few years of work. Another interesting point: most artists haven't gone to college to get a degree. I spent quite a sum in my college education and four years studying to get the education needed for a job, while some high-school girl with a nice voice and with no college education is winning multiple times as much as me. Fair? I think not. So, these uneducated people we call singers win twice as much as we who hold a college degree, and yet, RIAA wants us to believe that the poor artists are loosing money because people swap their songs. Just my opinion.
Posted by Sentinel (199 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Okay, reality check.
"Does anyone know what the RIAA actually does?"

The Recording Industry Association of America is a industry group that represents a huge number of the record companies in, you guessed it, America. That's why you never heard of them before now; they're basically just another special interest group. They aren't a company, and they make no products; they simply represent companies that do.

"They think they are protecting artists by suing their fans, but instead they are very very slowly destoying the fan base."

I thought that would happen, but I haven't actually seen much evidence of this happening so far--sadly.

"Let's face it, just one artist wins more than $100,000 in just one concert, in one night."

Yeah, the big, popular, well-known artists might. Besides, unless I'm totally mistaken, the RIAA isn't involved with concerts. It's been my understanding that many artists do concerts to get some real money from their work.

Smaller-time artists, however, probably make less than you do. Don't assume all artists make the big bucks just because a popular few do.

"That's more than I win in a few years of work. Another interesting point: most artists haven't gone to college to get a degree. I spent quite a sum in my college education and four years studying to get the education needed for a job, while some high-school girl with a nice voice and with no college education is winning multiple times as much as me. Fair? I think not."

You want life to be fair? You want these nasty things that happen to us to be because we actually deserve it? I take some comfort in the knowledge that life isn't fair, personally.

"So, these uneducated people we call singers win twice as much as we who hold a college degree, and yet, RIAA wants us to believe that the poor artists are loosing money because people swap their songs."

You really don't think the poor ones are losing money? Explain that business model to me, because it doesn't make a lot of sense.

I could understand it if file-swappers downloaded the music, listened to it, and then bought a legal copy--the artist gets paid, after the recording company takes their roughly 90% cut--well, after their costs are paid, anyway. Most don't, however; they download, and they keep, never purchasing a legal copy.

And don't try and give me the "we're just sticking it to the RIAA" line either. Not paying them is like trying to rescue a hostage a crook is hiding behind by shooting him in the head with the shotgun. Odds are, you're going to hit the hostage too.

In this case, the artist suffers far more than the recording industry does. I don't agree with what the RIAA is doing, but I don't agree with stealing music either. I've failed to hear any valid justification for doing so--it all boils down to the RIAA is bad, so let's screw them over so I can feel good about the music I'm stealing and not think I'm actually doing anything wrong.

It's a weak argument, and yes, you're hurting the artist.
Posted by (282 comments )
Link Flag
Money where money is due
Can you make a CPU at home? No, so you go and buy one. Same goes for music artists. If you want their work, then you pay them. Otherwise you miss out. It doesn't matter how educated they, you, me or the Easter Bunny (tm) is. If you want a good or a service then you have to pay what is due. If you don't and you aquire/use the good/service then you are stealing.

Besides, if you feel that you are a better person and more deserving then become a singer and see how much money you make.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
I agree with screwing the RIAA
I don't like to be a jerk, but the two other guys who replied to this seem like RIAA infiltrators just like the pricks who sold people out on i2Hub. Well I have news for you, I am a musician (Baritone Saxophonist) and my work got on the internet, originally not by choice, it got put on by a friend when he ripped one of my cds. Well since my music got onto the web I have had requests for cds and a gig I got contracted for was a direct result. So don't tell me its killing the small artists. It is a spring board. People hear music they download on the net, and they buy concert tickets! Thats were the money is at. If the RIAA didn't put a 90% markup on that little piece of plastic in the first place people would buy legitimate cds and artists like me could afford to mass produce them without getting into hairy contracts. So screw the RIAA and the ******** they represent who aren't the small bands you say are getting ripped off! Look at those getting sued for god sakes! I garuntee their entire music collection consists of Brittney Spears, P Diddy, POP GARBAGE! Thats who the RIAA represents, not the artist like myself trying to make the big time.

~Very Respectfully

Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Lets face it, the RIAA is a special interests group. One that's helped Diane Fienstien, Orin Hatch (tons of music coming out of Utah!) and Frist get reelected on many occasions, thank you Hollywood $$$$'s. These RIAA people get votes, they lobby, and they donate to see that their people have seats in congress and State Legislature, they file suits to get their way into court, they buy their backings!
I'm more than willing to buy a ticket, buy a cd, if I like the music, in fact, I support some local bands by doing so. I do not like to buy a CD from one group and see the proceeds spread throughout the other half ass talent that the Recording Companies wasted time on signing in hopes of a one hit wonder so they can play it on the Radio stations that they own all throughout the US.
SHARE SHARE SHARE MY FRIENDS! Lets use our technical savvy to regenerate new means of dishing out music. Why has Prince been so sucessful??? Because he pissed on the RIAA's employers and began working for himself, afterall, isn't that what's America is about? Doing it yourself, damn the man save the empire???
Posted by brilo (24 comments )
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Some Misconceptions
Most folks read stories like this, and come away with misconceptions. Here's the reality:

1. The RIAA does NOT represent artists. It represents companies like Sony and Universal, and by extension, their mega-acts like Brttany Spears and Justin Timberlake. They do not represent indie artists or artists up to their eyes in debt to the record companies.

2. The issue is the rights to distribute a recorded work, which is secured with the (p) logo on each published song. Copyright (c) is for who owns the rights to record and perform a song. So when I write a song, I automatically get to use (c) on it. If you wanted to perform it in public as a cover song, or if you wanted to record it, you would have to get permission from me. Conversely, with the (p), if you want to play the record in public, you have to pay the publisher (usually the record company).

What modern technology does is allow the writer to also be the record producer (via DAW's like Pro Tools), the publisher (through services such as CDBaby and iTunes), and the writer. In short, it allows us to bypass the record companies and the RIAA, whose models were designed during a time when producing records was astronomically expensive.

But no more. The RIAA represents a dying business model. The courts SHOULD NOT intervene to protect it as the free market should decide what the new model(s) will be. The RIAA is the Horse and Buggy industry of the modern age, and P2P distribution is the auto industry.

You tell me who is destined to win.
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
<<You tell me who is destined to win.>>

No contest. The recording companies will continue to "win." Why? They already the necessary resources to be successful. Most independent artists do not.

Lets assume for a minute that an independent artist had the skills to write great music. Lets assume they have the resources to buy the equipment they need to make a good recording. Lets assume they have the skills to edit and create master recordings of sufficient quality. Lets assume they get their music distributed on iTunes.

First of all, that's a lot of assumptions. But the problem of becoming a successful musician has not yet been solved. You are missing the single most important piece of the equation. Promotion. Marketing. Sales. Just because you put a piece of music on iTunes doesn't mean it will sell. Even if it is spectacular.

The recording companies make stars. They literally create superstars out of ordinary people, and promote them to superhuman status so that they can sell tens or hundreds of millions of records. Unless an independent artist can accomplish this with no outside help, my money rests on the success of the recording companies, even if the music is bad and the recordings are awful.

You are correct, anybody can make a recording and distribute it. What is missing, is demand. Demand must be created through marketing, and I don't know a single hungry artist who can compete in this field against the recording companies.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Strong Opinions  Unknown Outcome
I'm not quite sure where my opinion stands on this issue. There are people all over the board, all with interesting arguments and explanations for their opinions.

I just wish there was a win/win solution of some kind. But it certainly does not look that way. Both sides are fighting for what they believe in. We can either participate or sit back and watch. No matter. Only time will tell who wins and who loses. The final result is yet unknown and the battle could last longer than even our own lives. Perhaps our children will have to carry on for us? And who knows how technology will continue to evolve? Maybe someday technology will solve the problem at hand.

RIAA to Sue Internet2 File Swappers... <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://allwaysmusic.modblog.com/" target="_newWindow">http://allwaysmusic.modblog.com/</a>

Posted by (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think the outcome is known
There is one community that is almost univerally ignored in these stories. Every story has the RIAA/Industry Behemoth perspective, and comments come from those who use P2P and like it and those who for some reason defend the RIAA.

But rarely do you see any commentary from actual songwriters (unless it is Sting, Madonna, Brittany, or Justin, e.g. the mega-stars who have their own empires to protect).

But there is a counter-culture brewing. Go to macidol.com and see. Go to icompositions.com and see. Go to CDBaby.com and see. Go to theorchard.com and see.

What you will find are hundreds of musicians, thousands of songs in every genre imaginable. No record company involvement. No RIAA to deal with. Just you and the artist direct. Real people making music is what you'll find.
Posted by (274 comments )
Link Flag
What I was hoping for. . .
There's been a misperception that this is a battle between two sides--it isn't. There's three.

The first are the record companies in all their massive glory and anachronistic practices.

The second are the consumers, and you can divide this into two other groups. One supports copyrights and follows the law, even though we agree there are problems. (i.e. they last too long, the anticircumvention clause in the DMCA, the need for a renewal mechanism on a twenty year cycle or something similar to help out archivists). The other, for whatever reason, has decided to either stick it to RIAA by engaging in illegal distribution or they just want free music--I think most are in the latter category.

The third is the artists. People make the mistake of thinking that the artists and the recording companies are as one, but that's not in any way true. The recording companies have long since used their power to impose very unfavorable terms on the artists--i.e. contracts that don't return copyright to the artist except under unlikely circumstances, not paying any royalties until all their costs are covered, and possibly paying as little as 10% of *net profit*; in return, the artist gets access to their massive promotion and distribution machines.

This kind of repressive contract created a huge divide between the famous and the just merely successful. The famous still get rich, but the merely successful usually don't even earn enough from the royalties to make a living.

It sounds like these successful artists are beginning to fight back by doing an end run around their former middlemen. It's not through illegal downloading that the battle will be won, though it will end up being the consumer who decides who wins this battle, or if the two ways of doing things can coexist.

That is, if the record companies don't win too many legal battles in Congress and the courts.

That said, I don't feel sorry for the file-traders who are getting sued. They should've known what they were getting into.
Posted by (282 comments )
Link Flag
Cry me a river
In a society where "it's cool to hate" has become the norm, all this whining doesn't surprise me in the least.

The RIAA is attacking the venues of piracy and is within its rights to do so. Unless expressed and written consent is given by the artist to acquire songs freely by specifically outlines means, it is illegal. There is no justification for illegality. Period.

I side with the RIAA and the MPAA on these issues. They have every right to take away your toys that propagate piracy. Here's a concept: making something free devalues it to zero, rendering art entirely worthless across the board. You think they hand out Picassos? Get real.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
how much does the artist get
okay, first of all, good point, but, the artists the "RIAA" is claiming to protect, get almost nothing from what you pay for a CD! A person that paints a picture, and it is really popular, wouldnt appreciate having to pay 70-90% of profits to the museum that displayed the picture now would they?

and on your comment about handing out picassos, music isnt a picasso.
Posted by chris11-1 (15 comments )
Link Flag
Oh what a bunch of crap!
Now I don't believe in piracy...I would not like it if my company decided one day not to pay me. However, a quote from the article annoyed me:

"i2Hub has been seen as a safe haven, and what we wanted to do was puncture that misconception," said Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA. "This has been a subversion of the research purposes for which Internet2 was developed."

********, like the RIAA cares anything about the "subversion of research"...now that line almost makes me want to go download some music...
Posted by thejer (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What the Acronym RIAA Really Stands For
Based on the manner in which they've conducted themselves to date, it's not unreasonable to believe that the acronym RIAA actually stands for "Really Idiotic As Always".

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.privatejetsalesandrental.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.privatejetsalesandrental.com</a>
Posted by datastrategy (5 comments )
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