Embattled RIAA Keeps Heat on Universities, Issues More Notices

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An increasingly embattled RIAA continued its college-focused anti-piracy campaign this week, despite ongoing legal challenges and funding questions.

The group most recently issued a total of 396 pre-litigation notices to suspected file-swappers across 22 campuses in the United States.  The notices allow students to quickly settle a claim without protracted legal proceedings, a method designed to curtail expenses on both sides.

The wave is part of a university-focused enforcement campaign that first ramped earlier this year.  “It’s not our first choice, but it’s a necessary part of the equation,” explained Jonathan Lamy, senior vice president of communications at the RIAA.  “There are consequences for breaking the law.”

The initial intent of the campaign was to create a legal deterrent to casual trading, though major labels are now reconsidering both the initiative and their funding of the trade organization.  Just recently, EMI Group owner Terra Firma raised broader questions about high dues, part of a larger cost-cutting reexamination affecting all four majors.  Elsewhere, the RIAA is now trudging through a major challenge from the University of Oregon, one that has attracted the involvement of the state attorney general.