The Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America said they sent the letters to college presidents in 25 states, alerting them of the illegal activity on campus local area networks.
The majority of illegal file sharing occurs through peer-to-peer networks on the public Internet. Students, however, are increasingly using programs like Direct Connect, MyTunes and OurTunes to trade copyrighted material on campus LANs, the industry groups said. The perceived security and privacy of the networks "give many students incentive to engage in activity they have otherwise learned is illegal and unacceptable."
"We cannot ignore the growing misuse of campus LAN systems or the toll this means of theft is taking on our industry," the groups said in a joint statement released this week.
The MPAA and RIAA said they planned to "prioritize our focus" on campus LAN piracy, and hoped school administrators would evaluate their networks and take action to stop piracy, such as the use of blocking and filtering devices. The industry trade groups also praised the university community for its cooperation in the past in tackling the problem of digital piracy on campuses.
Universities receiving letters were located in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C. The names of the schools were not disclosed.
In April 2003, the RIAA sued college students in three schools for allegedly operating private campus networks to illegally share music. The suits led to university administrators shutting down at least a dozen campus LAN servers, the industry groups said.