University of Nebraska Will Bill RIAA $11 For Each Threatening Letter Received

Unlike the University of Wisconsin, which refuses to rat out its students to the RIAA, the University of Nebraska is playing along with the recording industry’s efforts to sue people for piracy. But if the RIAA wants Nebraska’s help, they’ll need to pay up.

The university has estimated that each complaint – basically a warning that a computer on the UNL campus is being used to pirate music – costs about $11 to process, Weir said. So the university wants to be paid for its trouble. Wiltse’s letter to the Denver firm representing the RIAA asked the recording industry to reimburse NU for the cost of finding the offending students.

“We’re spending taxpayer dollars tracking down RIAA problems,” Weir said. “Are we an agent of the RIAA? Why aren’t they paying us for this?”

In response to NU’s request, the RIAA’s Engebretsen said, “It is neither practical nor appropriate for us to entertain a reimbursement request.”

Let’s be clear: UNL *did* play along with the recording industry, and tried to find the pirates in their midst. But their IT system doesn’t keep good records. The university changes IP addresses regularly, and they only keep one month’s records. So they’re unable to help the RIAA, and the university nonetheless runs up expenses.

On the one hand, boo-hiss UNL for dancing with the devil. But good on ’em for sending the RIAA a bill! MARK ASHLEY

UNL proves safe haven for music pirates [Omaha World-Herald]