2008-03-24

Panel discussion on music downloading at UGA

The University of Georgia and its students are raising awareness of the risks of illegally downloading music or other media and promoting legal alternatives. A panel discussion called "Face the Music" on the topic will be held Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in room 248 of the Student Learning Center (a.k.a. Student Learning Castle). The diverse panel includes a UGA student who was threatened with legal action for downloading, a musician, a professor, a representative from a music downloading company, and media types.

The panel is being organized by the Do It Legally campaign, a group of students in the public relations campaigns course taught by Professor Kaye Sweetser. This campaign is sponsored by the university's Committee on Digital Media Downloading which has members from several departments and the Student Government Association. The university is interested in curbing the use of its network for illegal downloads. Although the university does not monitor its networks for such activities, it has to respond to certain legal requests from the recording industry when it seeks to identify users targeted in lawsuits.

3 comments:

Model Consumer said...

I strongly disagree that UGA is obligated to divulge private information about its computer networks to the RIAA. I don't dispute this on legal grounds, just as a de facto reality. (I'm not sure if that's what you meant to say in that last bit of your post either, but this is relevant to the discussion in any case.)

See
EFF article: "RIAA to Universities: Help us Threaten Your Students"

(a quote from above article:) "UPDATE: The University of Wisconsin is refusing to forward the pre-litigation letters to its students. Says Brian Rust of UW's IT department: "These settlement letters are an attempt to short circuit the legal process to rely on universities to be their legal agent." We couldn't have said it better ourselves. On Wisconsin! Update to the Update: The University of Maine has decided to folllow suit. UM spokeperson John Diamond: "It's not the university's role to, in effect, serve papers on our students for another party." Go Black Bears!

UPDATE: The University of Nebraska has found a unique way of resisting the RIAA's newest shakedown. Not only will it not pass on most of the letters, the institution is demanding reimbursement for the cost of processing the complaints. Equally notable is the institution's reason for not passing on most of the letters: it can't, because it only retains IP address logs for a month."

Also, Slashdot posting re: the University of Wisconsin refusing to forward RIAA letters...

(here is the original post linked above):
" stephencrane informs us of an interesting development at UW Madison. The school, along with many others, has been sent "settlement letters" by the RIAA with instructions to forward them to particular students (or other university community members) that the RIAA believes guilty of illegal filesharing. The letters order the assumed filesharers to identify themselves and to pay for the content they are supposed to have "pirated." The university has sent a blanket letter to all students, reiterating the school's acceptable use policies, but has refused to forward individual letters without a valid subpoena. This lawyer's blog reproduces the letter. The campus newspaper has some coverage on the university's stance."

Adrian said...

I worded the last sentence that way to describe UGA's obligation to respond to subpoenas. UGA does say it is forwarding the pre-litigation letters. I'm glad that some universities are resisting. In fact, there should be a lot more resistance. The news is full of stories that show that the RIAA is abusing the legal process and some of its attorneys are violating their oaths.

Model Consumer said...

Hey... I assumed you'd agree; please excuse any poor reading/interpretation on my part!