Fata Morgana (chimerically) wrote,
Fata Morgana

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

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:


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


Greg Boardman
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

The Berkeley letter:
From: POULLARD@berkeley.edu <poullard@berkeley.edu>
Date: Apr 3, 2007 3:42 PM

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.


Jonathan Poullard
Dean of Students

Shelton Waggener
Associate Vice-Chancellor and
Chief Information Officer

Tags: berkeley, dmca, fair use, file-sharing, mpaa, online, politics, riaa, stanford

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded