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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BREAKING NEWS: Brandeis students unscathed in RIAA i2hub crackdown

Published: April 15, 2005
Section: News

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced Tuesday that it intends to file 405 lawsuits against students at 18 Universities for swapping music using i2hub, a popular file-sharing client used by thousands of students on dozens of college campuses. No Brandeis student has been named in the suit according to both University President Jehuda Reinharz and statements released by the RIAA. No more than 25 students per University were being sued.

According to a message that greets students upon logging into i2hub, at least 1,000 unique computers have connected to i2hub from the Brandeis campus over the course of this academic year.

First appearing last spring and boasting only a few hundred users, mostly from Rochester Institute of Technology, i2hub has grown ever popular and previous to the lawsuits had around 6,000 users connected at any one time.

Up until Tuesday, i2hub was considered a safe haven from the RIAA due to its running over Internet2, a research network connecting colleges and Universities. The RIAA is thought to have gained access to the network either through cooperation of a university or by subscribing as a student to off campus accounts offered by i2hub which bridge Ineternet2 and regular internet and allow students off campus to connect to i2hub.

In an interview with college newspapers, RIAA president Cary Sherman stated that 140 Universities were sent letters informing them that students at their Universities were using i2hub for allegedly trading copyrighted material illegally. As of press time, Reinharz said he has yet to receive a letter from the RIAA.
Students using i2hub were able to download songs in seconds and movies often in minutes in contrast to other file sharing networks such as Gnutella on which movie downloads could take days.

ITS, which often receives notices about copyright infringement by students, sanctions students after confirming the infringement by removing the students internet access until the offending material is removed. Though off-campus entities cannot tell who the offending student is, they are able to refer to students by their Internet Protocol (IP) address, which ITS can use to identify which students are responsible. Federal law prohibits ITS from releasing the names of students associated with IP addresses, which are unique for each computer connected to the internet, without a subpoena.

Prior to using i2hub, students shared files on the Brandeis network using the SMB file sharing protocol built into Windows. Since the introduction of Service Pack 2 which by default added stricter security for file-sharing with a new built in firewall, very few people share on the network and instead many choose to share over i2hub.

In an article yesterday, online news publication reported that suits will be filed against no more than 25 students at each of the 18 universities: Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California.