UC Merced Illegal Music Crackdown

4/16/2008 Merced, CA Downloading music to a computer, Mp3 player or a phone is a way of life on the U.C. Merced campus. "For the small artist, I support them and I usually download from iTune; but main stream artist, I go on Lime Wire some web site to try to find it," said Neil Bhardawag a U.C. Merced Student.

File sharing sites like Lime Wire can be used for illegal downloading.

The Recording Industry of America has tracked down the I.P. addresses of 8 computers on campus where they believe illegal downloading occurred. They notified the university and now staff members are trying to find the individuals involved and warn them. "We suggest that they talk to their parents, consult a personal attorney before they make a decision. We let them know that we will not tell the I.R.A.A. what they're contact information is without a subpoena," said U.C. Merced spokes person Tonya Luiz.

The school won't turn over student's information unless the record industry files a lawsuit. Legal action has been taken hundreds of times, charging illegal downloader's thousands of dollars.

"It's kind of unfair for the students. They already know they're poor as is. You're still going after students. That's kind of unfair to our society," said U.C. Merced student Ryan Zamora.

"How can you put one person on the spot? Pretty much everyone knows it's going on worldwide and all over campus. I don't see how you can single out one student and make an example of them," said student Derek Gellidon.

The university said students, staff, and faculty need to be aware. "U.C. Merced is not a hidden campus. They're now claiming illegal file downloading is going on here. So they're tracking what goes on our campus," said Luiz.

Right now, millions of people around the world are swapping billions of files illegally. The odds of getting caught are very slim but, this story proves the recording industry is watching even in a small city like Merced.

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