Yes, the RIAA Is Still Suing College Students

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Call them customers, pirates, college kids… or whatever.

The RIAA is still issuing lawsuits, and burning label cash to clean the streets of academia (and beyond).

In the latest episode, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the RIAA does indeed have the right to uncover the identities of suspected swappers.  That is part of a long-running, rather circuitous “John Doe” process established by an earlier court order, specifically from 2003.  In turn, that replaced a far easier, subpoena-based strategy designed to force automatic  identity disclosure by ISPs.

The student in question is from the State University of New York at Albany, and the attempt to protect anonymity was definitely scuttled.  “To the extent that anonymity is used to mask copyright infringement or to facilitate such infringement by other persons, it is unprotected by the First Amendment,” the court opined.

So, long live John Doe.  But, why is the RIAA still suing individual swappers?  The broader campaign against file-sharing ended at the tail end of 2008, part of a hapless attempt to transition towards ISP-brokered enforcement deals.  But a smattering of suits lingered, as well as a continued effort to curb university piracy.