RIAA to sue four US college student

Amazingly the RIAA is suing four US college student for running closed file-sharing networks on campus. It isn’t currently clear how the RIAA gained access to private on-campus networks.

Many commentators thought the RIAA wouldn’t take action against people from the market that actually spend huge amount of money with the record companies currently. The thinking being that you don’t attack your customers base.

Interestingly, one of the accussed, Aaron Sherman of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was co-author of a paper entitled “Efficient Solutions for Peer to Peer Resource Discovery on Local Area Networks” [doc] near the end of last year. His particular contribution was software called FlatLan. There are some interesting quotes from the document

FlatLan and Celery were designed as tools to locate files on a network, and were not designed to break Copyright laws. Although there are Copyrighted materials shared on the network, there are also many files created by students that are meant for free distribution.


As of now the RIAA has not contacted anyone from Phynd, Celery, or FlatLan to discuss the issue further

It’s clear from this that Sherman was researching filesharing networks and was concerned with the efficiency with large numbers of music files and explicity references 1,000,000 files

At 1,000,000 files shared, and each file (file name, path, size, date) taking an average of 86 bytes, it takes 86,000,000 bytes per index of the RPI network.

which was, possibily by co-incidence, the number mentioned in the news report as the largest number of files found on one network.

I hope the RIAA hasn’t gone in and stomped all over a student who was just carrying out a research project – they really would look pretty silly.