RIAA Works With College Students to Convince Them They Are Criminals

Ah, college. Those heady days between being able to drive and being able to get a job, settle down, and wait patiently for death. Is there anything better than sitting down during your late teens and early twenties and learning about file sharing from a fat man named Mitch (shown here)? I didn’t think so.

It seems that the RIAA is sending out thousands of complaints to universities across the country and the universities are reacting just as bastions of freedom and free inquiry should — by chiding and even suspending students for sharing music. One college even makes its students watch an anti-piracy film created by the RIAA.

It breaks down like this. The RIAA can’t attack the Euro/Asian pirate networks. They get a bad rap from suing 12-year-olds. So why not attack disenfranchised college students without the smarts to use Bit-torrent?

It seems Ohio University, Purdue, and U of Nebraska-Lincoln, have the stupidest students and are clearly unable to share music without alerting a clueless organization on the West coast with a huge budget yet few street smarts. Schools are lining up, however, to avoid some sort of potential lawsuit.

At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst — which received 897 complaints — first- and second-time offenders receive escalating warnings about piracy. After a third complaint, the school unplugs a student’s Internet connection and sends the case to a dean for additional punishment.

This makes me extremely upset. That the schools would trust the word of an organization that is waging a war against creative expression is outrageous. Say what you want about artists rights, DRM, and piracy, but this is an effort to prop up a quickly eroding regime and preventing improvements in copyright laws that allow a few rich lobbyists get to keep the their cash cow alive. Colleges — let your students deal with the RIAA, sans your involvement. It makes you look like asses.

Recording industry targets colleges [AP]