Music-Piracy Warnings May Be the Biggest Batch Yet
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
The Recording Industry Association of America this month fired off 569 "pre-litigation settlement letters" to college students whom it suspected of pirating music. The letters appear to be the largest batch sent since the RIAA began an expanded campaign in February 2007.
Most previous waves of letters went to about 400 students each, according to press releases on the RIAA's Web site. Students who receive such letters are identified after RIAA investigators download music available on the students' computers, said Jonathan Lamy, and RIAA spokesman.
Whether merely making a song "available," without proof that another party has illegally copied and downloaded it, constitutes copyright infringement has been questioned in several recent court decisions.
Upon receiving the letters, students have the option of paying the RIAA several thousand dollars to avoid going to court and potentially facing higher penalties. Mr. Lamy said the latest wave of letters was unrelated to bills in Congress that would revamp copyright-infringement penalties and university requirements for curbing on-campus file sharing.
Twenty-six institutions received letters last week. The University of Texas at Austin topped the list with 75 notices, and three University of Wisconsin campuses — Oshkosh, Parkside, and River Falls — brought up the rear with one apiece.
Officials from several other universities, not on the list the RIAA supplied to The Chronicle, have recently reported sizable increases in the number of letters they have received.
Section: Information Technology
Volume 54, Issue 33, Page A16
Open Letter to the Rowan Community
COMPLIANCE WITH DIGITAL COPYRIGHT LAW
From Anthony Mordosky, Associate Provost for Information
would like to take a moment of your time to talk to you
about the laws and policies concerning digital copyrights.
network infrastructure is an essential University asset.
Access to the Rowan network is provided to faculty, staff,
and students primarily to support University related endeavors.
Given its importance, the proper operation of the network
is important to us all. A key component of this is Rowan's
compliance with the copyright and information security laws.
regularly receive notifications from the Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) regarding copyrighted materials
being shared on the Rowan network.
accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (a
federal law which protects the interests of copyright holders
in regard to digital media), Rowan University is obligated
to locate the specific individuals and ask them to remove
the copyrighted files from their computers. If they do not,
the University is required under the DMCA to turn off their
network access. While the DMCA has been in effect since
1997, it has only been in recent years that the RIAA and
MPAA (the organizations that represent the U.S. recording
and movie industries) have been more aggressively attempting
to enforce their copyright.
users of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications such as BitTorrent,
AresWarez, BitComet, Morpheus, DirectConnect and Limewire
may be, whether they are aware of it or not, engaging in
illegal activity by trading copyrighted works. Downloading
and sharing copyrighted music, movies and other media through
these P2P networks, while seemingly harmless, is considered
stealing and is against the law unless the copyright holder
has explicitly granted permission to do so.
users are under the false assumption that by not providing
any personal information, or providing false information,
there is some anonymity when using these P2P applications.
However, any activity on the Internet can be tracked back
through your Internet Service Provider to your computer.
Rowan University, as your Internet Service Provider when
you are on campus, dialed in or connected to our VPN, is
required to follow the rules and regulations as stated in
the DMCA and expend all reasonable effort to enforce this
copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association
of America and the Motion Picture Association of America
continue to use legal action as a way to enforce their copyright.
Together they have brought more than a 1,000 lawsuits against
alleged infringers, a number of them students in colleges
and universities. Here at Rowan last year we processed almost
100 copyright infringement notices and have received over
40 already this semester.
we have never received any subpoenas for the identity of
a user to date (the first step a copyright holder takes
toward legal action) we do want all users to know that if
properly served, the University would have to comply with
the law and provide the user's identity.
The Rowan University community needs to be aware of the
seriousness of these violations and what the consequences
could be. The University is committed to maintaining the
integrity and availability of the Rowan network for the
educational and research purposes for which it was designed.
I urge faculty, staff, and students to become familiar with
the laws pertaining to the use of digital material (www.rowan.edu/toolbox/policies/dmca)
and to comply with federal law and University policy regarding
use of copyrighted materials.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to
contact the Office of the Associate Provost for Information
Resources by calling 256-4401 or sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony J. Mordosky
Associate Provost for IR/CIO
What is the DMCA?
Copyright Law protects a wide range of creative works and
grants to the owner of the work the exclusive right to make
copies of the work, to make new works using part of the
original work, distribute copies of the work, and display
or perform the work publicly. Works protected by copyright
include: written works, movies, music, photographs, art,
software, and other original works of authorship.
A provision in Copyright Law known as the DMCA allows internet
service providers to shield themselves from liability for
copyright infringement due to infringing activity by users
of the service provider's networks. Owners of copyright
materials, including record companies, movie studios and
software manufacturers, routinely monitor internet traffic
and identify IP addresses that are hosting or sharing files
that appear to be unauthorized copies of the owners' works.
In compliance with the DMCA, the copyright owners notify
the service provider and the service provider must expeditiously
remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing material.
The individual responsible for infringing activity, not
the service provider, will be responsible should the copyright
owner wish to seek damages for infringing activity.
borrowed from the University of Washington
does this all mean at Rowan? Only the owner of copyrighted
material may distribute that material. The DMCA allows the
University, as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), a way
to limit its liability of being sued should a user on the
University's network distribute copyrighted material illegally.
Copyright owners or their representatives regularly scan
the University's network to locate instances of copyright
infringement; they notify the University of the infringement,
and the University must respond by removing access to the
infringing material. A computer's owner is responsible for
any infringing activity on it.
Rowan users must respect the copyrights in works that are
accessible through computers connected to the Rowan network.
Federal copyright law prohibits the reproduction, distribution,
public display or public performance of copyrighted materials
without permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use
or another exemption under copyright law applies. In appropriate
circumstances, Rowan will terminate the network access of
users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyrights
of others, and may also take disciplinary action.
about the application of copyright law to peer-to-peer file
sharing of music, movies and other copyrighted works is
the complete Web Policy here
About the Web Policy Should be Directed to:
Office of the Associate Provost
Division of Information Resources
Information Resources’ Procedure for Handling Copyright Infringement Notices
- All copyright infringement notices are received by the Associate Provost for IR
- Copy of all received notices are sent to a group of Network and System Services administrators via the group email DCMA
- An NSS administrator will investigate the IP address from the complaint to determine the user.
- The identified user is contacted and informed we have received a notice that alleges copyright infringement
- User is notified that if they did download the alleged material to remove it from their computer and turn off any peer-to-peer software they may be running.
- The administrator typically has to explain what this means since many are unaware of the software they are utilizing.
- They are also informed of the procedure IR will follow if we receive a second complaint about them.
- On receiving a second complaint about a campus constituent the following steps are taken:
- Their network access is suspended.
- The issue is referred to the Student Judicial Board of the campus for appropriate action.
- Network access is not restored until after ruling by Student Judicial Board if appropriate.
What is copyrighted material?
material that is illegally distributed over the Internet
can take many forms including, but not limited to, the following:
may take the form of MP3s or WAV files either ripped (or
copied) from CDs or downloaded and redistributed without
or Television Shows which have been recorded
and digitized, ripped (or copied) from DVDs, DVRs or TV
works: may take the form of eBooks, PDFs, or
HTML pages distibuted without permisson.
includes graphics copied from other web sites.
includes software applications such as games, operating
systems, applications that were not purched by you and
have no valid license.
How are copyrighted material distributed illegally?
material is illegally distributed over the Internet by several
methods including, but not limited to, the following:
(P2P) software: consists of many computers connected
in a network for uploading and downloading files; these
networks use software like BitTorrent, AresWarez, BitComet,
Morpheus, DirectConnect, Limewire and many more.
(file transfer protocol): consists of one computer
serving files to its clients on a continual basis.
(internet relay chat): a form of realtime internet
chat through which users can create file servers that
allow them to share files with others.
information about IRC...)
How can a copyright holder find out if I have copyrighted
materials on my computer?
holders can search the Internet to determine whether copyrighted
material is being illegally distributed. They often search
with the same peer-to-peer software (KaZaA, Bit Torrent,
mIRC, AresWarez etc..) used by those who share files. To
avoid any problems, make sure that you are not making any
files available for download that you do not have permission
from the copyright owner to share. The simplest way to comply
with this is to delete the files or to turn off/uninstall
any file sharing software you have on your computer.
an infinging file is found, a copyright infringement notice
is issued to the network provider from which the file was
transmitted. Many users sharing illegal files are under
the false assumption that by not providing any personal
information, or providing false information, there is some
anonymity when using these P2P applications. However, any
activity on the Internet can be tracked back through your
Internet Service Provider to your computer. Rowan University,
as your Internet Service Provider when you are on campus,
will recieve these notices, lookup the computer by IP address
and forward the warning.
If my computer is found to have copyrighted materials, what
steps can the copyright holder take against me?
owners can file civil suits to recover damages and costs.
In many cases, statutory damages of up to $30,000, or up
to $150,000 for willful infringement, may be awarded even
if there is no proof of actual damages. In addition, in
certain cases of willful infringement, the government can
file criminal charges, which can result in substantial fines
and imprisonment. Use of an academic network does not provide
immunity from copyright law, nor can Rowan protect its students,
faculty, or staff from criminal investigations or lawsuits
relating to their personal actions.
What penalties could I face?
Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.
How does illegally distributed material, or sharing that
material, affect me?
file sharing affects every user on the Rowan University
network. If you are on the University's network either in
an office, in a residence hall, in a public lab, or a visitor
to our network from off-campus, you can experience the affects
of slower Internet speed resulting from illegal file sharing.
Most file sharing software also comes bundled with malware
such as spyware or adware. Sometimes this malware remains
installed on the system even if the original file sharing
software is removed, and can be very difficult to eliminate.
In many cases such malware can interfere with the correct
operation of web browsers, anti-virus and anti-spyware software,
software firewalls and can cause degraded performance on
affected systems. If you are faculty, staff, or a student
using the University network and you are distributing files
illegally you may experience:
Increased virus attacks against your computer. (Especially
if using a P2P network)
installed on your computer without your knowledge. (Especially
if using P2P software)
How do I prevent potential copyright problems?
not share copyrighted material and uninstall any
file sharing software on your computer. If you never install
a peer-to-peer program, you will dramatically reduce the
chances of your computer being infected by a virus, installing
spyware, or being sued.
Is it legal to download or store copyrighted materials on
you are infringing copyright if you download or share copyrighted
materials on your computer without the permission of the
copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under
copyright law applies. Most downloading over the Internet
of commercially available copyrighted works, such as music
or movies, through file sharing systems is illegal.
you purchase/download music, movies or other copyrighted
material legally, via iTunes or other legal sites, you are
well within your rights unless you then share that material
with others who have not paid for it. That would be a copyright
Where can I download legally?
number of services exist where you can legally download
music, software, television shows and movies.
can now also watch many television shows and other video
free at the following sites: