Lawsuits to Be Filed Over Internet2 File-Swapping

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES — In less than 30 seconds over the super-fast Internet2, file-swappers can download a DVD-quality copy of Digital Playground’s “Jack’s Playground 21.”

Over the basic Internet, that feat might take nearly half the day.

And that has the entertainment industry worried.

So much that the Recording Industry Association of America is planning to file lawsuits Wednesday against individuals with access to the Internet2 network who shared files.

The Internet2 network connects universities researching the next-generation Internet.

Boasting speeds hundreds of times faster than the conventional Internet, Internet2 is used by millions of students, researchers and professionals worldwide but is generally inaccessible to the public.

Through the use of “i2hub,” a file-sharing application, Internet2 is increasingly becoming the network of choice for students seeking to pilfer copyrighted content on a massive scale, the RIAA said Tuesday.

The Washington-based RIAA leaked names of the 18 colleges and universities of intended plaintiffs. In all, 405 students will be named in the federal lawsuits.

The recording industry’s trade group for the largest labels said it found evidence of more illegal activity at 140 more schools in 41 states and sent warning letters to university presidents.

"We cannot let this high-speed network become a zone of lawlessness where the normal rules don't apply,'' said RIAA President Cary Sherman, who wouldn’t disclose how the recording industry accessed Internet2 to detect piracy except to say it acted lawfully.

Even officials who run the network were unaware how the entertainment companies traced the purportedly illegal activity on their network.

The RIAA said the 18 schools include the University of Southern California, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at San Diego, Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Drexel University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the University of Pittsburgh.

In related news, the Motion Picture Association of America said Tuesday it plans to file an unspecified number of lawsuits against Internet2 users.