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New Tactics in RIAA Lawsuits Against Students

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On February 28, 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that it is initiating hundreds of legal actions against people at thirteen colleges and universities "who engage in illegal file-trafficking of copyrighted content on peer-to-peer (P2P) systems." A press release on February 28, 2007 states that the RIAA will send "pre-litigation settlement letters" to universities on behalf of major record companies and will offer affected students the chance to settle before litigation is initiated and to thereby avoid a formal lawsuit. For this purpose, the RIAA has a new website (www.p2plawsuits.com) that provides a guide to settling a lawsuit prior to litigation.

NYU is not on the list of institutions that the RIAA calls "the initial wave of this new initiative." It's conceivable, though, that NYU will receive a "pre-litigation settlement" letter from the RIAA in a subsequent wave, since the RIAA has sued NYU students in the past. Should that occur, NYU will follow long-established procedures to alert affected individuals. It will be the responsibility of those individuals to determine whether to settle prior to litigation. NYU is not in a position to advise affected individuals on such matters.

NYU does, as a higher educational institution, encourage broad academic freedom, while also striving to ensure privacy, to protect intellectual property rights, and to abide by laws that cover the fair use of copyrighted materials. In numerous efforts throughout the year, NYU reminds all members of its community, and especially students, to recognize the legitimate concerns of the recording industry. In particular, be aware that most music files are copyright protected, which means that they can be distributed only with the permission of the people who own that copyright. For more information, check NYU's Peer-to-Peer File Sharing website: www.nyu.edu/its/p2p/.