Politics Crusty Old Dean The RIAA To Bust The UW’s MP3 Downloading Kegger
posted by June 26 at 12:46 PMon
The Recording Industry Association of America’s brilliant plan to save the record industry (detailed here, here, and here by the good folks at Idolator)—by suing individual college students for sharing the new Rihanna single—is about to hit the UW according to this email forwarded to the Stranger by hot tipper Marianne (emphasis added):
This message is being sent to all students with approval from the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life. _____
I am writing to inform you of a development that could become a serious issue for some of our students—the law governing downloading and sharing of music and video from the internet. Under copyright law, it is illegal to download or share copyrighted materials such as music or movies without the permission of the copyright owner. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in recent years has taken an aggressive approach to stopping this illegal downloading and file sharing. This has put many students at the nation’s colleges and universities at some legal risk. I write first to caution you against illegally downloading or sharing files. Your actions when you do so are traceable and could result in a significant financial penalty to you. Second, I want to inform you about a new process the RIAA has initiated and the University’s role in this process.
The RIAA is now sending colleges and universities a letter for each instance they find of a student illegally downloading material from the internet and requesting the university to identify the individual student and forward the letter to him or her. The letter, called an “Early Settlement Letter” notifies the student that he or she has 20 days to settle with the RIAA by going to a designated website, entering identifying information, and paying a set amount, usually between $3,000 and $5,000, but sometimes considerably more. If the recipient chooses not to settle, the RIAA will file a lawsuit and the offer to settle for the amount stipulated is no longer an option.
The University has been notified by the RIAA that we will be receiving a number of these early settlement letters. After careful consideration, we have decided to forward the letters to the alleged copyright violators. We do so primarily because we believe students should have the opportunity to avail themselves of the settlement option if they so choose. Not forwarding the RIAA letter to students could result in their being served with a lawsuit, with no chance to settle it beforehand.
The University is unable to provide legal services to students who have violated copyright law through illegal downloading or sharing. If you receive a letter from the RIAA, we encourage you to engage a personal attorney. If you have questions, please let us know.
We know how tempting it is to download music or movies and share files with your friends. But you need to know that it is illegal to do so and that the consequences can be severe. Please inform yourself of the requirements of the law and please obey it. Otherwise, it may prove costly for you and your family.
Eric S. Godfrey
Vice Provost for Student Life