Just An Online Minute... RIAA Wins Minor Battle, But May Be Losing War
In ordering the information disclosed, the court rejected the student's argument that it was protected by the Federal Educational and Privacy Act.
But the record industry -- which has sued college students since 2003 without making a dent in online file-sharing -- shouldn't savor its victory just yet. At around the same time as the judge ruled that the University must turn over the information, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails told fans that he was giving away his latest CD, made with poet and rapper Saul Williams, for free online.
Visitors to the group's Web site were met with notice that the new album, "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust," would be available for download later this week. The group is allowing fans to download it in MP3 format for free at 192 Kbps, and also is selling downloads for $5 each at the higher 320 Kpbs.
Reznor has been a vocal critic of the record industry, accusing it of setting unreasonably high prices for his records. Earlier this year, at a concert in Australia, he urged fans in Australia to download Nine Inch Nails tracks from file-sharing sites rather than pay the prices his label was charging.
Reznor's move comes just several weeks after Radiohead also made its most recent album available online at no set price. The group's Web site told fans they could pay whatever they wished, or nothing at all, for the tracks. As of last week, the average donation was about $5, according to Wired.
Meanwhile, the RIAA show no signs so far of backing off its campaign of litigation against file-sharers. But the organization has to be wondering how much longer it thinks it can litigate its way back to a world where the industry controlled the distribution of music -- especially when the musicians themselves have other ideas.