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Recording Industry Sues A&M Students

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Several A&M students could pay the price for illegal file sharing on campus computers.

The Recording Industry Association of America recently filed lawsuits against students on nearly a dozen different college campuses.

With the click of a mouse, the Recording Industry looses 4 point 2 billion dollars to piracy every year.

"Because it's easy, it's free, everybody's looking for a handout...you can burn it, download to your ipod, it's that easy," says Senior Ranesha Cobb.

But nine Aggies are about to learn a tough lesson.

Last week, The Recording Industry Association of America filled civil law suits against students who use university owned computers to download music.

"We've received courtesy emails from the recording industry that they're filing ''John Doe'' lawsuits against people for illegal music sharing," says Associate Provost for Computer Technology Dr. Pierce Cantrell.

They're "John Doe" lawsuits because RIAA doesn't know the name of the students, only what computer they were using at A&M.

The university will have to use the IP address provided by the recording industry to track what student was using a specific computer when the illegal file sharing took place.

Once the student is identified, they'll face legal action.

"I would hope that by now most students would recognize that this does violate the law and the RIAA is being aggressive in these lawsuits around the country. I'm told the average settlement is costing $3,000 to $4,000 now," says Dr. Cantrell.

But students are still file sharing illegally because they just don't think they'll get caught.

"Simply, there's so many people that do it and they think they won't come single me out," says Junior Laura James.

RIAA is aggressively singling out individuals to make them an example.

"Some people think just because it's available, it's okay. They don't realize what they're doing is illegal," says Senior Marcus Trichel.

And there is a thin line.

It's not illegal to watch movies or listen to music online, but if you don't pay...you're stealing.

Burning copies to a CD, downloading the file, or sharing the file with another user is also copyright infringement.

"It's been going on since the tape player and it's just an on-going thing," says Cobb.

And some say that will never change, no matter the deterrent.