RIAA granted right to pursue students

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Eleven recording companies have been granted the right to subpoena Marquette for the names of four Internet users accused of illegal file-sharing, but no subpoenas have been filed.

The motion to have subpoena power in the case of Loud Records et al. v. Does 1-4 was sought April 21 and granted April 22 by Judge Rudolph Randa in the District Court for the eastern district of Wisconsin. According to public records on the case, the recording companies are allowed to seek the names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the four users.

Ben Tracy, director of university communication, said he was aware of the order, but thus far no subpoena has been presented to the university.

However, students who believed they were targets of the lawsuit have called the university and asked what they should do, according to Tracy. Tracy said the university told the students that nothing could happen until the subpoenas were filed.

Tracy said some network users were identified several months ago by the Recording Industry Association of America as sharing music illegally, and Information Technology Services sent registered letters to the users , demanding they stop sharing music. Presumably, Tracy said, those being sued had received letters to stop file-sharing then. However, compliance with the registered letters did not mean the recording industry would not sue those users, Tracy said.

However, Tracy said that it was "theoretically possible" that the users who were being sued did not know they were being sued.

Tracy said if a subpoena came down, the university would decide, based on the subpoena, what course of action to take. The users may be notified they are being sued at that time, but Tracy thought it was unlikely the users did not already know they were being sued.

Eric Goldman, an assistant professor in the Law School, said it did not strike him as odd that there was a month between the filings of the lawsuit and the motion for subpoena power.

"The (legal) system takes forever," Goldman said.

Goldman said one possible problem for the recording companies was the possibility that two or more users were using the same computer, and the owner of the computer may not have been doing illegal file-sharing.

The persons being sued used the IP addresses 134.48.192.212, 134.48.192.181, 134.48.192.176, and 134.48.195.99 when allegedly sharing songs. Lang said she didn't know what building or buildings the users were in, and residence hall technical support specialist Robert Guttman would not comment.

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