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RIAA admit error in ruling at Pennsylvania University

The RIAA have admitted that they sent an erroneous legal notice to Pennsylvania University, which would have resulted in students being denied access to a server which provides essential services, at a time when pressures of study are reaching their height.

The notice issued was relating to alleged Internet copyright violations at the university's department of astronomy and astrophysics. They alleged that the department was distributing Usher tracks via. FTP, but it turned out that there were no such files on the server. This is a landmark as it's the first time the RIAA have publically admitted they made a mistake in issuing the notice, and shows how easily automatic piracy detection systems can be fooled.

The university say that they searched the server "for files ending in mp3, wma, ogg, wav, mov, mpg, etc., and found nothing that would precipitate this complaint", they also stated that a Professor Usher had files on the server and that there was one music file, which was created by the department. The word "Usher" and the existence of an MP3 files on the server had triggered the alert, now time will tell whether or not the detection system will continue to issue false warnings, possibly resulting in less confidence in the system.

News source: ZDNet

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