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filesharing crackdowns on campus - bowing to RIAA/MPAA/(DMCA??) - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2007-05-15 19:43
filesharing crackdowns on campus - bowing to RIAA/MPAA/(DMCA??)
Public
berkeley, dmca, fair use, file-sharing, mpaa, online, politics, riaa, stanford
First Berkeley, and now Stanford is cracking down on "illegal use of file-sharing technology." Sounds like they're leaving it up to the RIAA/MPAA to determine violations and to establish a definition of "legal" -- a bit dangerous, if you ask me, given how liberally they're flinging about takedown notices (and how difficult it is to challenge one). Also, both letters have the usual misuse of DMCA, implying that it applies to file-sharing generally rather than to just reverse-engineering or otherwise circumventing copy protection technologies (e.g. DeCSS). Also, there's no mention of fair use in either letter. Anyway, thought some of you might be interested in seeing both of these.

The Stanford letter:
From: Vice Provost Greg Boardman <vpsa-announce@sumail.stanford.edu>
Date: May 15, 2007 7:31 PM
Subject: Illegal File-sharing

Dear Stanford student,

Illegal use of file-sharing technology continues to be a critical problem at Stanford. In spite of our efforts to advise students about the serious consequences that can result from illegal distribution of copyrighted materials there is clear evidence that this is a growing phenomenon that is not going away.

As a result, the university is announcing a change in the policy governing DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaints. The new policy involves an Internet reconnect fee and represents a significant change in actions the university will take in addressing violations.

For information on the new policy please see:
http://www.stanford.edu/dept/legal/recent/DMCAReconnectfee5-11-07.Web.pdf.

[SUMMARY OF PDF: $100 RECONNECT FEE FOR FIRST DMCA COMPLAINT, $500 FOR SECOND, $1000 FOR THIRD]

If you have questions about the DMCA Reconnect Fee policy, please contact
Lauren Schoenthaler (at: lks@stanford.edu), Senior University Counsel.

Regards,

Greg Boardman
Vice Provost for Student Affairs


The Berkeley letter:
From: POULLARD@berkeley.edu <poullard@berkeley.edu>
Date: Apr 3, 2007 3:42 PM
Subject: UCB NOTICE REGARDING ILLEGAL FILESHARING

Dear Student,

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copying and sharing copyrighted materials without permission is illegal. As you may know, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and some other copyright owners and groups have recently stepped up their efforts to curb illegal filesharing on the Internet. This academic year, the University has received a much larger volume of complaints about peer-to-peer file sharing under the DMCA. In addition, the RIAA is sending "early settlement" letters to colleges around the country as part of their new anti-theft campaign announced in January (see press release at http://www.riaa.com/news/newsletter/032107.asp). This is an opportune time to remind you of relevant policies and practices at UC Berkeley.

DMCA "take-down" notices

Federal law requires that the University take action when it is notified that someone on its network is distributing copyrighted materials without permission. Whether you are aware of the violation or not, if UC Berkeley's DMCA agent receives a "takedown notice" alleging that your computer is distributing copyrighted material without permission, the University follows established policy enforcement procedures, see: http://www.rescomp.berkeley.edu/besmart/filesharing/ http://itpolicy.berkeley.edu/copyright/

Early Settlement Letters

The University of California has agreed to forward "early settlement" letters to students on the campus network that the RIAA alleges have shared copyrighted material illegally. The University will send a cover letter along with the RIAA early settlement letter to the student's email address, as well as his/her current and permanent addresses. Unless served with a proper subpoena, UC Berkeley will NOT release the name of the user to the content owner or RIAA upon receipt of a DMCA notice or early settlement letter.

By forwarding the early settlement letters, the University of California has made no determination that students have engaged in copyright infringement or that they should enter into an early settlement with the copyright holder. It is solely the student's personal decision whether to avail him or herself of the "early settlement" procedure.

Legal downloading

UC Berkeley supports and encourages the legal downloading of music, movies, and software. Residential and Student Service Programs provides extensive education for incoming students about the potential legal and policy enforcement consequences of illegal filesharing. To find out more about these campus programs, please visit http://rescomp.berkeley.edu/besmart/ and http://rts.berkeley.edu/legaldownloads/.

To comply with the law and to protect yourself from possible litigation, we strongly encourage you to remove illegally-obtained copyrighted material from your computer, and to stop downloading copyrighted material illegally if you do so now. We will continue our vigorous education efforts in this area, but ultimately the choice is yours. Please take advantage of the information on the websites listed in this letter.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Poullard
Dean of Students

Shelton Waggener
Associate Vice-Chancellor and
Chief Information Officer

***********************
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eqe
eqe
2007-05-16 06:15 (UTC)
(no subject)
Cool, so I can cost any Stanford resident $1600 by simply perjuring myself 3 times?

I think the university loses DMCA safe harbor if they exercise editorial control on which DMCA takedown notices they execute.
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Boots
bootsuu
2007-05-16 06:19 (UTC)
(no subject)
I like the Berkeley letter best, as it seems to be the more thought out and thorough of the two, trying to remind students that the college is not assuming guilt or trying to tell them what to do, but maintaining that they are trying to educate their student body as to what would constitute appropriate use. Considering a lot of the news articles I've read lately, these seem neither too liberal (one college in the news is refusing outright to cooperate) or too draconic.

As for outrage or indignation at these letters, I like to step back and think financially about these notices. Both colleges still have to pay for their bandwidth (and if not the bandwidth outright, they are charged by the next hub on their giant networks for data transfer costs). It's in their interest to try to curtail activities that create a very noticeable increase in bandwidth use that comes along with sharing of large media files.

There are copywrite laws for good reasons, and artists / actors / special effects artists work hard for the money their artwork generates when purchased or licensed properly. Just because it's easy to convert a DVD to a .mov or .mpeg doesn't mean that what's being done isn't wrong.

I don't believe that the RIAA or MPAA are taking the correct approach by any means, but did the majority of people who are engaged in filesharing of copywrited works actually do anything to deserve that advance copy of Spiderman 3, or the latest Avril CD? My defense is that they still owe me for having to listen to Lars Ulrich tell me over and over that I was stealing and hurting his financial stability.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2007-05-16 06:33 (UTC)
(no subject)
Trust me, students are already paying through the nose for their fancy T3 internet connections. These extra charges are piddling to the university -- especially Stanford ...

I won't get into how little (if anything) most artists get for their work if they're going through one of the big labels, say -- that's not my point here. (And given the amount of pirated stuff you have, I'm surprised you're spouting their rhetoric ... ;~)) I'm just lamenting the loss of fair use (which copyright law is supposed to allow) and cringing at the misinterpretation of the DMCA.
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Boots
bootsuu
2007-05-16 06:35 (UTC)
(no subject)
In my own defense, most of my music I ripped myself, same with my movies. I don't share them because I'm paranoid.

The porn collection though..... Wow.. I'd be in trouble.
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Kragen Sitaker
kragen
2007-05-16 17:14 (UTC)
(no subject)
There are several different provisions of the DMCA. One of them provides ISPs with a narrow "safe harbor" provision; another one prohibits the distribution of circumvention tools.

Perhaps we could use these terms strategically and build ill-feeling toward the policies by filing notices with some legal justification but in cases where there is some debate. Marginal fair use cases might be one example.
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2007-05-26 21:22 (UTC)
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2007-05-28 08:41 (UTC)
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2007-06-02 17:03 (UTC)
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2007-06-05 19:43 (UTC)
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2007-06-16 06:09 (UTC)
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