A music industry group on Thursday said it has filed lawsuits against the operators of private computer networks on three college campuses where it claims the networks are being used to illegally trade copies of digital music files.
The Recording Industry Association of America said its member companies filed suit against two students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and against one student each at Princeton University and Michigan Technological University.
The RIAA has actively used the courts to pursue digital music pirates after a 9 percent dip in CD sales in 2002 that it blames for the most part on online file sharing.
In a statement, the association compared the file-sharing systems, which are open only to students on the universities' internal networks, as miniature versions of Napster -- the software and network that led to the explosion of music file swapping.
The four networks were offering nearly 2.5 million files, it said, including more than 1 million files on the largest network alone.