It was early in the battle against music piracy that record labels seemed to identify educational institutions as an enemy. In 2004 the Recording Industry Association of America subpoenaed a number of U.S. colleges for details of students suspected of illegal file sharing. But now, with EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner all pumping money into an anti-piracy group called proMedia, the fight has grown a little dirtier.
Anti-piracy groups are common, but proMedia is slightly different. The company’s approach is cannibalistic, using students to help identify those of their colleagues who are guilty of copyright infringement. According to an anonymous employee, the company has close to 35 students trawling through forums, blogs and file hosting sites looking for music pirates. But the students working for proMedia also track down fellow students using P2P networks or BitTorrent. Those who they catch then face costly settlements with record companies.
Do you find this strategy galling or do you think record companies are right to pit students against one another? Let us know in the comments. [Gizmodo]