updated 4/27/2005 4:45:28 PM ET 2005-04-27T20:45:28

A federal magistrate has ruled that two North Carolina universities do not have to reveal the identities of two students accused of sharing copyrighted music on the Internet.

The music industry trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America, filed subpoenas in November 2003 asking for help identifying a North Carolina State University student who used the name “CadillacMan” and a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student who used the name “hulk.” The students allegedly file-swapped songs using the universities’ computer systems.

Both schools initially were willing to cooperate, but later joined attorneys for the students in opposing the request, U.S. Magistrate Judge Russell A. Eliason wrote in his order, which was filed earlier this month.

An attorney representing “Jane Doe,” the University of North Carolina student, said he was not concerned about allegations of music piracy but whether identifying her would violate privacy rights.

“We would never condone music piracy,” attorney Michael Kornbluth said. “What we’re interested in is the rights of the individual — privacy rights being protected.”

University of North Carolina administrators were pleased with the order but do not condone students’ downloading copyrighted information, school spokeswoman Lisa Katz said.

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