RIAA Targets 23 NEW Schools in Latest Campus Piracy Crackdown

Wants to spread around the litigation “love” to previously untouched colleges still teeming with pesky file-sharing music pirates.

Not wanting to leave anybody out, the RIAA has begun a new round of targeted piracy enforcement by sending out some 408 pre-litigation settlement letters to 23 universities nationwide who had previously not received any at all.

This latest and greatest round of pre-litigation settlement letters is the newest chapter of the RIAA’s so-called “education and deterrence campaign” against campus “file-traffickers” that it launched earlier this year against colleges throughout the country.

Because of the summer schedule, the RIAA has been “kind” enough to extend the amount of time that students who receive a pre-litigation settlement letter have to contact the RIAA and work out a settlement. They even remind students that they continue to provide an easy and hassle-free method for circumventing the legal process altogether and pay a kindly discounted settlement fee online at P2PLawsuits.com before a formal lawsuit is filed

In its latest press release the RIAA goes one step further than usual by trying to say that it’s a “changed man,” that “The music industry is transforming how it does business and embracing digital distribution models of every kind,” according to Steven Marks, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the RIAA.

Oh really? That’s a new one. Funny he doesn’t mention DRM or the fact that record labels continue to charge $20 bucks for a measly CD and continues to harass Steve Jobs to jack up music download prices on Apple’s iTunes. It may have learned new tricks but, the RIAA is still the same old dog.

“For students, many of these high-quality digital music options are available at deeply discounted rates — or even free,” Mark continues. “Those who continue to ignore great legal services and the law by stealing music online risk a federal lawsuit that could include thousands of dollars in penalties. With so many simple, easy and inexpensive ways to enjoy music legally these days, why take that risk?”

It doesn’t seem the risk of a federal lawsuit is too high considering that few actually go to trial and the RIAA does everything in its power to avoid an actual, living, breathing, jury of peers, trial. The only thing students really risk is an apparent hijacking of the legal system and a pre-litigation “extortion, ” I mean settlement, letter.

In this 6th wave of the RIAA’s crackdown on campus music piracy, it sent letters this week in the following quantities to 23 schools for the first time ever:

  • State University of New York at Morrisville (34)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (31)
  • Pennsylvania State University (31)
  • University of Central Arkansas (27)
  • University of Delaware (23)
  • Northern Michigan University (20)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (20)
  • George Washington University (19)
  • Ohio State University (19)
  • New Mexico State University (17)
  • Eckerd College (16), University of Minnesota (16)
  • California State University – Monterey Bay (14)
  • University of Kansas (14)
  • University of Missouri – Rolla (14)
  • University of San Francisco (13)
  • Case Western Reserve University (12)
  • Northern Arizona University (12)
  • San Francisco State University (12)
  • University of Tulsa (12)
  • Franklin and Marshall College (11)
  • Western Kentucky University (11)
  • Santa Clara University (10).

Now what happens from here is up to the individual campuses involved but, I only hope they take the Harvard high road and tell the RIAA to “Take a Hike,” and don’t collaborate like the U of Washington which seemed to be all too eager to give up its accused students.