A Canadian audio software company, reFX Audio Software Inc., filed two copyright infringement complaints in federal court against 180 people, one of which used Webster University’s Internet network to illegally share music. The company filed the complaint on Nov. 8.
Because it was unable to identify the true names of the 180 individuals at the time of filing, reFX Software assigned a number to each accused perpetrator. The individual who allegedly used Webster’s network is listed as John Doe 31.
While it does not have the true names of the individuals, reFX Software said it had obtained the Internet Protocol (IP) address of each individual and the Internet service provider (ISP) used to illegally share the software. The company also said it had obtained the time and date of the alleged act.
The complaint accused John Doe 31 of illegally sharing reFX Software’s Nexus program on Aug. 27, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.
Furthermore, reFX Software said in the complaint it was aware of the file each defendant had copied and distributed. The complaint also identified the BitTorrent application used to download the software.
In the complaint, reFX Software stated it intended to subpoena all ISPs used by the defendants to obtain the names of the account holders connected to IP addresses. In relation to John Doe 31, Webster University is the ISP.
“Plaintiff believes that information obtained in discovery will lead to the identification of each John Doe Defendant’s true name and permit the plaintiff to amend this complaint to state the same,” reFX Software’s court documents read.
The documents also said information discovered through the subpoena and discovery process may lead more alleged infringers to be added to the complaint. The judge has yet to issue the subpoenas.
The complaint said an investigator for reFX Software was able to download the Nexus software from each of the defendants. This confirmed the defendants had downloaded the software illegally.
ReFX Software’s complaint asked the court to rule that the 180 defendants pay damages to reFX Software. It also asked defendants to pay for costs associated with the company’s complaint and attorney fees. Furthermore, the complaint asked the court to order each defendant to destroy the illegally shared Nexus software.
ReFX Software references three specific products and prices in its complaint:
—Nexus 2 with 1,000 factory presets and all 45 expansion packs: $2,589.
—Nexus 2 with 1,000 factory presets: $299.
—For each individual expansion pack: $65.
On its website, Webster University does not address illegal file sharing of software. However, when the university receives an infringement notification from a music or film industry body, the Office of Information Technology will make a copy of its network connection log. This enables activity to be traced back to a specific Internet user.
“Once the person has been identified, the information is turned over to the governing body for that individual (such as the dean or associate dean of students if the person lives on campus) for disciplinary actions,” the Web page reads.
The university also said any illegal downloading taking place on a personally owned computer is governed by the university’s Computer Technologies Acceptable Use Policy. The policy states, “No Webster system is to be used for any illegal or criminal purpose.” The policy can only be put to use if downloading occurs while the computer is connected to the Webster network.