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Marshall University cracks down on illegal downloads

by Associated Press

CHARLESTON W.Va.

Illegal music downloading will no longer be tolerated at Marshall University after the recording industry sued two students.

In February, Marshall responded to pre-litigation letters that the industry sent to 20 students by starting an education campaign. The letters from the Recording Industry Association of America gave students an opportunity to settle without litigation.

Nine other students received pre-litigation letters from the RIAA in August. The association filed a federal lawsuit Thursday accusing two students of illegally sharing music files online.

Marshall’s response now will likely be disciplinary action for violating the university’s code of conduct, said Stephen Hensley, dean of student affairs.

“We can argue about whether it’s right … but there’s no doubt that it’s a violation of the law,” Hensley said Friday. “Our patience wears a little thin, too.”

“We were new at it then, and we’re not so new at it now,” he said. “To me, (students) have been fairly warned from the beginning. They knew it was improper.”

Disciplinary action will depend on the factors involved, but students probably will not be kicked out of school, he said.

“I think, reasonably, you might do community service (or) something related to the offense,” Hensley said. “We hope that any sanctions are also educational in nature.”

Marshall isn’t the only campus targeted by the RIAA. Last February, the organization sent settlement offers to 400 students at schools such as Arizona State, North Carolina State, Ohio University and the University of Southern California.

Besides students, the RIAA has sued thousands of other computer users since September 2003 as part of a crackdown on music piracy.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com

–Associated Press



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