The Recording Industry Association of America said it will file lawsuits against those who share massive amounts of music online, according to a written statement released last Wednesday.

The announcement comes on the heels of a District Court ruling on April 24 in RIAA v. Verizon Internet Services, which granted the RIAA access to the personal information of computer users via their Internet Service Provider, which will aid the recording industry in catching and prosecuting users.

In addition to the recent court ruling, falling record sales have driven the RIAA to its new stance.

Many University students reacted to the announcement with confusion and indignation. LSA senior Michael Pappas said he was doubtful the RIAA’s threat of lawsuits would not deter students from downloading.

“I don’t think scaring people is going to make people stop – some people will stop, but many won’t. I think over time, people will begin to counter-sue or find loopholes. People will always find ways around it,” Pappas said.

Pappas added, “I kind of see where they are coming from. But, I also heard that CD sales from college students haven’t really changed. Some statistics show that there hasn’t been much of a decrease, if any. If that’s the case, what would it matter if we’re sharing files, if they’re not losing money to begin with?”

According to its own research, the RIAA claims the music industry has gone from a 40 billion business in 2000 down to 32 billion in 2002.

LSA junior Cianna Freeman said the RIAA’s new position has more to do with their greed and the lack of quality music in the market, than with protecting copyright laws.

“This is ridiculous,” Freeman said.

“They are making millions of dollars off of us. If your CD is good, then it will be bought. …The last CD I bought was by Aaliyah, because it was good. I listened to it online first, I liked it, then I went and purchased it,” she said.

“Their tactics are over the top to say the least. Let me know when someone is not eating because we haven’t bought your CD. … These new tactics by the RIAA only makes me want to be more rebellious,” Freeman added.

Some people are calling for a boycott of the music industry. Bill Evans, the founder of a website boycotting the RIAA, said he has been busy building a national grassroots campaign.

According to the official website, the overall goal of the campaign is to educate the public and prevent the RIAA from controlling the music industry via copyright laws.

Evans said the lawsuits could alienate music customers from the major labels.

Evans added that if approached from the correct angle, the RIAA would be able to use file-sharing technology to its advantage.

“According to the RIAA’s own numbers there are 2.7 billion downloads per month.

If they were even charging five cents per track, that is a whole lot of nickel sales (that) would be up not down …. but the RIAA has backed themselves into a corner.”

The RIAA maintains the legality of its claims. They have sued college students in the past, but now are also targeting those with substantial on-line music collections, not just the hosts of servers.

The first round of suits could take place as early as mid-August, according to a written statement by the RIAA.

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