By Brooks Boliek
I2hub, the superfast Internet service popular with college students, shut
Logging onto i2hub.com http://www.i2hub.com/ brought up a Web page
with a ghostly image of a man walking away, with the words "Remember
i2hub" superimposed over the image and "RIP 03.14.2005-11.14.05"
written below it. I2hub was one of seven peer-to-peer services that
received a cease-and-desist letter from the Recording Industry
Association of America. RIAA had said they would make an 'example' for
college students with I2hub.
The service follows Grokster, which shut down after losing the Supreme
Court case that decided P2P services could be held responsible for
copyright theft that occurs on the services.
It was unclear whether i2hub entered into a settlement agreement like
the one reached this month in the Grokster suit.
"We continue to be encouraged by the response of many of the illegal
peer-to-peer sites to the Supreme Court's unanimous Grokster
decision," an RIAA spokesperson said. "The message from the Court has
been heard, and we look forward to working with services that will
respect the laws protecting creators. Those who will not work with us
will see what happens to them and their users."
The music and movie industries have filed more than 600 infringement
lawsuits at 39 universities against users of the service, which
travels on the high-speed university network known as Internet2.
Coincidentally, the Motion Picture Association of America on Tuesday
asked college students to make a film about the problem. The
association is sponsoring a nationwide anti-piracy public service
announcement contest for college students.
In a partnership with Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), an
international nonprofit that mobilizes university students to create
economic opportunities, the MPAA hopes that getting students to create
PSAs will help convince them to eschew copyright piracy.
"The MPAA is committed to educating students, parents and all
consumers to aggressively tackle the threat of piracy and stem the
disturbing societal trend of illegal activity online by students of
all ages," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said. "That is why we
have joined SIFE, partnering with some of our country's most creative,
bright and energetic students to engage them in this discussion and
enlist their help in the campaign on campuses."
The winner of the contest, open to students at colleges that have a SIFE
chapter, could pocket $3,000.
Glickman estimates that U.S. copyright industries account for 12
percent of gross domestic product and employ more than 11 million
workers. An interagency report last year estimated that counterfeit
and pirated goods cost the U.S. economy $250 billion per
year. Hard-goods piracy -- like DVDs -- cost the movie industry alone
more than $3 billion per year.
That money often finds its way into other illegal activities. On
November 10, a fatal car chase in Virginia involving a convicted felon
who was wanted on several criminal charges, including cocaine and meth
possession, yielded hundreds of pirated CDs and DVDs in the man's
trunk, MPAA field investigator Dennis Supik said.
"A lot of people we were arresting had drug conviction backgrounds,"
Supik said. "Actually, what they said was: 'This is the new drug on
In 2003, Interpol Secretary General Ron Noble said in testimony before
the House International Relations Committee that the global trade in
narcotics is estimated at $322 billion, while the global trade in
counterfeit goods is estimated at $512 billion.
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
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