RIAA College Crackdown Hits Sophomore Year

The RIAA has been aggressively suing college students for one year, though champagne corks are mostly missing from the picture.

On Thursday, the trade organization announced another batch of 401 letters to offending students at Columbia, Drexel, North Carolina State, Ohio State, University of Maine, University of Southern California, and several others.  The RIAA pointed to an anti-piracy emphasis against protocols and applications like Ares, BitTorrent, Gnutella, LimeWire, and Morpheus.

The letters offer pre-litigation settlement options to students, part of a streamlined shift by the label body.  Whether the campaign is having any impact remains questionable, though the RIAA pointed to curbed piracy.  “One year into our legal campaign, we’ve seen an emerging legal marketplace that would have struggled to gain traction were it not for our efforts to clamp down on online music theft,” posited Cara Duckworth, director of Communications at the RIAA.

But the past year has also witnessed a massive drop in album sales, and increased pressure from label constituents to curtail trade organization dues – both in the United States and abroad.  Leading the charge to minimize fees is Guy Hands, the fresh owner of troubled label EMI Group Plc.  Hands, like other label chiefs, is struggling to minimize costs and radically restructure a recording-focused business model.