MPAA's Most Wanted: MPAA Compiles List Of Top 25 "Pirate" Universities

It wasn’t too long ago that the RIAA compiled their list of the universities most infested by alleged music pirates, and now it seems the MPAA is following suit. The RIAA used their list to target universities, sending threatening letters to the school’s administration, insisting that they forward “settlement letters” to students who matched IP addresses the record companies had harvested from P2P sharing programs. Now the MPAA has a list of its own, compiled at the request of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. Read the list inside…

This is the MPAA list of the top “pirate” universities, along with the number of copyright infringement notices they received.

1,198 Columbia University
934 University of Pennsylvania
891 Boston University
889 University of California at Los Angeles
873 Purdue University
860 Vanderbilt University
813 Duke University
792 Rochester Institute of Technology
765 University of Massachusetts
740 University of Michigan
714 University of California at Santa Cruz
704 University of Southern California
637 University of Nebraska at Lincoln
636 North Carolina State University
586 Iowa State University
575 University of Chicago
562 University of Rochester
550 Ohio University
527 University of Tennessee
506 Michigan State University
457 Virginia Polytechnic Institute
455 Drexel University
447 University of South Florida
405 Stanford University
398 University of California at Berkeley

The MPAA’s Most Wanted [Chronicle] (Thanks, Joshua!)


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  1. tvh2k says:

    Obviously copyright infringement is going to be rampant on college campuses. You’re talking about a population of people with little or no income, large expenses, and high interests in digital entertainment (movies and music).

    Oh by the way…RIT represent!

  2. kerrington.steele says:

    my very own Columbia tops the list. glad to see they didn’t let the piracy tradition die after I graduated! we used to have a Columbia-only p2p system that, like, used the engineering school’s supercomputers during downtime to transfer movies and tv shows between students — it worked especially fast if you could find somebody in the same dorm as you and use them as your seeder. then it was shut down. oh, how I miss those days.

  3. FezMan88 says:

    woo, go drexel, haha… im one of those 455 unfortunately, caught dling a movie for a class (im a film major), but the actual download was just a trojan horse for a NBC Universal tracker

  4. CiQuat says:

    I’m very surprised my (to remain unnamed) alma mater was not listed. Our internal (and student-developed) file-sharing network was filled with to-be-released, in-theatre, and post-DVD movie rips. Oh how I miss those glorious old days where I could find new things I like and try them before I buy them.

    I guess I’m an exception when I state that shortly after graduation I purchased almost all of the series and movies I was exposed to and liked during that time.

  5. Corydorf says:

    I was at RIT for a while, and believe me, there’s not much to do there BUT pirate movies. of course, they’re all so advanced, they’re using technologies and programs the MPAA and RIAA don’t even know exist to share 90% of those files.
    Man, those were good days, it’s sad to see that no out outside of that school uses any of those programs though. I miss the days of using school LAN to dl things at 2-3 Megs per second.

  6. Echodork says:

    Come on, Hokies! You’re slacking!

  7. Bassam says:

    Interesting how both UCLA (my alma mater) and USC are on this list. Both universities have prestigious film schools, where the future movies-makers of Hollywood could potentially be coming from.

    Maybe those schools should be given a pass based on potential future generated income for the movie industries?
    Well, the MPAA probably thinks that they can get more money by suing poor students, perhaps forcing their potential future money-makers to drop out, or at least ensuring that they next generation of movie-makers are extremely anti-MPAA.
    That can only be a good thing.

  8. LTS! says:

    Nice… two Rochester schools listed. RIT has always been a haven for piracy. UR is intriguing as half the network is secured from any P2P (fire one up and you are automatically banned for 60 minutes in the Medical Center) and the other half is responsible for all that traffic (go academia).

  9. GirlGoneRiled says:

    Drexel! Three cheers for the (Downloading) Dragons!

    My alma mater is chock full of the technologically proficient and socially awkward – RIAA doesn’t stand a chance. Like the aforementioned RIT crowd, there be technology that RIAA has no clue even exists and it’s awfully difficult to shame a bunch of people who don’t much care about social niceties.

    Hm. This doesn’t explain Penn’s presence on the list, though, since all they do there are social niceties. You know, the really expensive and preppy kind that are likely to lead to success as an RIAA lawyer.

  10. mac-phisto says:

    alas, my alma mater didn’t make it. maybe it’s b/c they bought every student a free napster membership when they realized how big of a deal this was to become.

    when i was there, you could access any shared file on any computer on campus thru network neighborhood on a t3 line. god i miss those days.

    anyone good at silkscreening? i see a gold mine in t-shirts here.

  11. dlinkwit27 says:

    It helps (or doesn’t, depending on your outlook) that users can use programs like TOR to mask our downloading through IP’s with fast connections, such as those at large schools like UCLA, USC, RIT, etc.

  12. Johnie says:

    Definitely proud that Columbia topped that list.

    Incidently… 1198 settlement letter that they claim to have sent out is 16% of the total undergraduate population and 5% of the total student enrollment.

    Back when I was in school, file transfer over the Internet2 pipeline was ridiculously fast!

  13. axiomatic says:

    Come on MPAA. Don’t be the hypocrites that the RIAA is. You know that son’s and daughters of MPAA employees are going to these schools and DOING EXACTLY WHAT COLLEGE KIDS DO which is break the rules while out from under their parents proverbial thumbs.

    The difference now however is that the MPAA is going to ruin these kids lives with law suits and extortion. Don’t you think the MPAA would be better served going after real pirates instead of our future lawmakers and Presidents? What if you sued in to oblivion the kid who was to cure cancer?

    This is just kids being kids. Why make this in to a crime? I did a ton of stupid stuff in college, (drugs, partying, mayhem, even breaking and entering once!) however I’m a well adjusted citizen of Amerika now with a fine job and kids of my own.

    MPAA… Don’t be evil.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    UCLA! UCLA!!

    By “file-sharing” do they mean bit-torrent, or Limewire and the ilk? Is it technically simple to backtrack BT seeding? Only if you’re seeding or if you’re leeching too?

    (it’s for my “friend” who I understand is “experimenting” with file-sharing technologies. For a school “project”)

  15. ChickenBoo says:

    These statistics may provide a misleading picture of the amount of downloading at each school, since the student population doesn’t appear to be taken into account. There have got to be more students at Ohio State, for example, than at Columbia —

  16. EtherealStrife says:

    Is it technically simple to backtrack BT seeding?

    Yes. BT is by nature a very public p2p service.


    Surprising that UCI didn’t make the list, as the techiest of the UCs. I guess the Anteaters just do a better job of covering their tracks. :P

  17. emax4 says:

    The MPAA can’t touch them. Did anyone see “This Film is Not Yet Rated”? Even the director, Kirby Dick, told the heads that he didn’t want any copies of his film made when he presented it to them to get it rated. Now mind you, this is an unorganized organization that upholds anti-piracy laws, and what do they do? They end up making a copy of his film without authorization. All a student has to do is throw that in the face of the MPAA.

  18. drierp says:

    Can anyone normalize this data to account for the different number of students at each university?

    10 infringers at a school with 20 students is way worse than 1000 at a school with 100k students.. (50% vs 1%)

  19. amb1545 says:

    @tvh2k: I’m sorry you also had the misfortune of attending RIT.

  20. Tush says:

    ISU, represent!

  21. eriksanerd says:

    This makes me proud to go to Michigan State University. But only 506? I’m sure there’s at least that many in my hall alone…

  22. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    I’m impressed with the fact that the top 25 “Pirate” universities include so many academically prestigious universities, Stanford, Columbia, UPenn, et al. There must be a correlation between high IQ and a desire to screw with the MPAA.

  23. SmittyChic says:

    Central Michigan would’ve made the list but we pillaged and plundered the MPAA and removed ourselves from the list before they could publish it! Arrrrgh! We win again, mateys!

  24. Citron says:

    Temple University (in Philadelphia, along with UPenn and Drexel, my college) sent everyone e-mails last week (I think) that basically said “If the RIAA sends us letters, we’re forwarding them to you. The end.”

    Boo, TU. Boo.

  25. j.b. says:

    I’m familiar with staff at Columbia. They’d be interested to know how these stats are being compiled.

    There’s no way to determine repeat offenders. Whenever someone has a copyright case they’re captured, but this guarantees a new IP address. Forget about wireless and library laptop connections. Columbia has an open network. They seem to baselessly (lazily?) assume a static IP environment.

    And heck, who needs accurate information when you can just make sweeping assumptions and have your lawyers bluff your way to redefining fact?

  26. ConstantCupcake says:

    Really MPAA, offering your silence (i.e.. no court) on the matter in exchange for money? There’s a word for that. Blackmail. If you really thought you could get more money out of these students by taking them to court you would. Clearly you have as little faith in your ability to win theses cases as I do. The best thing for you would be to take all of these kids to court and win a majority of the cases because that would set legal precedence for you and you’d have actual law backing up all this smoke blowing. This tactic is what they teach us to do in legal classes when we know we can’t win. It’s called cutting losses. I can only hope such prestigious Universities won’t stand for your Bullying their students in such a flagrant manner.

  27. ConstantCupcake says:

    And by the by, MPAA, if you were truly interested in the integrity of the art you would be working with Studios and Theaters to keep Student Tickets and pricing. They’ve all but dissapeared from this country. Honestly Opera Houses and Music Halls can offer discounts to students for their shows and you guys, who are making billions upon billions of dollars, can’t? You can’t cut a deal for 8 Dollar DVDs and 5 dollar theater tickets for students?

  28. ConstantCupcake says:

    And one more thing, because this really rubs me the wrong way. These Blackmail letters? They’re sent by the school. So if you reply or pay the fine you are offering an admission of guilt AND your name. As of right now they don’t know who you are and in order to find out they’ll have to file suit in an actual court since it is illegal for them to subpoena the ISP for your name. Universities are much more likely to take legal action against the MPAA if they suddenly have them taking hundreds of their students to court and are being asked by a court to turn over the names of those IP addresses.

  29. ConstantCupcake says:

    Some good news. The University of Wisconsin has refused to forward the letters or release names without a valid Subpoena. As I noted before legal precedence is on the school’s side in this matter even with a Subpoena. The MPAA would need to actually file suit for the University to be legaly required to release names in accordance with a 2003 case in which Verizon refused to comply with Subpoenas from the RIAA as it would violate the privacy of their customers. I hope other Universities follow suit!