RIAA Subpoenas & Universities
"There are 10,000 different PCs on the Princeton network," he said. "When there's that many people, it's hard to try to monitor and control access that closely."
The professor also mentioned the recent emergence of small companies offering to hack into private file-sharing servers for the RIAA.
"It's not clear if the record industry is buying their services. It wouldn't look good if they were because they would basically be purchasing viruses," he said.
In related news, though not related to private university networks, the RIAA drops lawsuits against two Pennsylvania University students, because the university claims it is no longer able to match the submitted IP addresses with actual persons. Suspicions that the university tries to thwart RIAA enforcement are denied. The same article linked to above notes that Ohio University withheld a warning from coming lawsuits, only to take action after being served with a subpoena. One may question this action, as it is in the interests of students to know that the RIAA might come down on them. This might be something else if the university had a known policy of non-cooperation and would actually take the RIAA to court over providing the name and address information.
In The Netherlands the majority of ISPs have decided to forward warning letters of the Dutch anti-piracy organisation BREIN to their customers, while claiming that further cooperation (matching IP addresses to customers) is not a logical next step. Only XS4ALL has refused any cooperation. If this last provider will also be willing to go to court over providing actual contact information, as I expect, this will be justifiable. Otherwise customers are, like at Ohio University, left in the cold before the actual storm breaks.
For the record, the anonymous Princeton professor in the article is not me.
I'm not sure where people have gotten the idea that the RIAA had a presence on the Princeton network. Based on the articles I have seen, they could have been anywhere accessible via i2hub -- and there are hundreds of thousands of such machines all over the U.S.
-- Ed Felten