4.26.2007

RIAA File Sharing Suits: Will It Be You?

Who are the 53 individuals on the UW campus?

The RIAA's "John Doe" lawsuit asks that users associated with the 53 IP (Internet Protocol) address - a series of numbers given to a computer connection on the Internet - be turned over to the record companies named in the lawsuit.

John Doe lawsuits are a routine step that the RIAA takes to learn the identities of those whom it suspects of illegally sharing copyrighted music over the Internet. Generally, RIAA investigators monitor peer-to-peer file-sharing networks - in the UW-Madison case those were the Gnutella and AresWarez networks - and take down the IP addresses of those who are sharing files.

The 53 UW-Madison IP addresses accounted for 24,977 shared audio files, according to court documents.

That's not just a few kilobytes. Despite the UW's early refusal to comply, Federal Judge John Shabaz ordered the IP addresses and contacts of the file sharers be turned over to the RIAA today.

Given the potential technical difficulties of pinning an IP address with a distinct individual, I'm interested to see how many concrete students will actually be nailed even when the addresses are revealed.

Via Slashdot