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University Bows to RIAAs Demands for Student Names

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the they-will-always-be-stronger-than-us dept.

The Courts 271

jcgam69 writes "Hours after a federal court judge ordered Oklahoma State University to show cause why it shouldn't be held in contempt for failing to respond to an RIAA subpoena, attorneys for the school e-mailed a list of students' names to the RIAA's attorneys. But now that the RIAA has what it wanted, the group is unsure about how to go about sending out its pre-litigation settlement letters. Some of the students are represented by an attorney, meaning that the RIAA is barred from contacting them directly."

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The bully's fear (5, Insightful)

kshrop (1054972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418744)

A person who isn't all alone and easy to scare. Whatever should they do if someone has a defense and won't give up thier lunch money so easily?

Re:The bully's fear (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418836)

That analogy works well with slashdot anti-RIAA sentiment, but it's not completely accurate.. the RIAA isn't just some big stupid bully, it has the full support of United States law. It sees a multibillion dollar cash cow and it's milking it- this is not the RIAA's fault, it's the government's for allowing it to happen.

Don't DO THE CRIME if you can't DO THE TIME !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22418930)



Don't DO THE CRIME if you can't DO THE TIME !!

Don't do it !!

Re:Don't DO THE CRIME if you can't DO THE TIME !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419194)

Except for the very obvious and very real fact that all you closet RIAA supporters seem to miss in your trolling... THERE IS NO CRIMINAL LAW BEING BROKE.

Stop acting like these people are killing your frigging puppy and get a frigging clue.

Re:The bully's fear (4, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418942)

Who said he wasn't referring to the government?

Re:The bully's fear (1, Insightful)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419024)

It isn't at all the fault of the people who actually broke the law?

These people distributed copyrighted material that they had no right nor authorization to distribute. Representatives of the copyright holders found out about it, and are suing. Unless the representatives found out about it in an illegal way (read: non-admissible in court), they are fully within their rights to sue.

That the representatives may be ripping off the copyright holders, engaging in questionable business practices, producing garbage, and contributing nothing to society is entirely beside the point as far as these cases go. If anything they do is illegal, sue/prosecute them independently. If you don't like the laws, stop voting for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, move to another country, or overthrow the government.

But let us not forget that that there is evidence that the people being sued have broken the law and that the plaintiffs are completely within their rights to sue, and to use the facilities granted to them by law (i.e. warrants and subpoenas).

Re:The bully's fear (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419330)

Depends on your point of view. IMO it's the fault of the people who voted into office the legislators that made it illegal.

Re:The bully's fear (4, Insightful)

kegger64 (653899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419404)

it's the fault of the people who voted into office the legislators that made it illegal.
Which candidates did you vote for that oppose copyright?

Re:The bully's fear (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419782)

Your question is invalid., The important issue is whether I did vote for (and thus legitimize the power of) the current leaders who support copyright, which I did not.

Re:The bully's fear (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419402)

They (RIAA) are being sued for what they do, so don't come with that. However, as an association backed by large music companies, they have more money and thus can stand (delay) longer in court before giving up even though what they are doing is illegal and unethical, it's the corrupt system that allows them to do that.

On another note, what the University did here might be illegal too. They are giving probably without a court order, a LIST of students' names to a third party. The RIAA is a PRIVATE organization, not a government or public benefactor and a judge can't order something that is against the law (that's what the RIAA is trying to force though). I know where I work (University) that would be against New York State, HIPAA and internal policy and if somebody in my group were to be sued, I would take it all the way to supreme court before I release anything.

Re:The bully's fear (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419456)

> ... or overthrow the government.

Inciting people to overthrow the government is a crime, no?

> and that the plaintiffs are completely within their rights to sue, and to use ...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, just don't expect us to cheer them on...

Oh, BTW, in criminal cases, the defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty. Reread your comment in this light. (Yes, I know these are not criminal cases. But given the previous track record of RIAA, your automatic assumption of guilt seems strange.)

Re:The bully's fear (3, Informative)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419550)

It isn't at all the fault of the people who actually broke the law?

Depends, they have the right to due process. They have the right of a fair trial.

These people distributed copyrighted material that they had no right nor authorization to distribute. Representatives of the copyright holders found out about it, and are suing. Unless the representatives found out about it in an illegal way (read: non-admissible in court), they are fully within their rights to sue.

These people are SUSPECTED of these actions. It is not clear that there is sufficient proof or any viable proof at all.

But let us not forget that that there is evidence that the people being sued have broken the law and that the plaintiffs are completely within their rights to sue, and to use the facilities granted to them by law (i.e. warrants and subpoenas).

Yes, and lets look at that evidence. It is a witch hunt.

Re:The bully's fear (4, Informative)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419566)

It isn't at all the fault of the people who actually broke the law?
With what proof? An IP address? The RIAA lawsuit carpet-bombing are civil issues and simply don't have to hassle with the burden of proof a criminal case would have.

In fact, with the exception of one high-profile slam-dunk case for the RIAA with a judgment of a quarter million dollars for the guilty music pirate, they have dropped every single other case that actually gets beyond a settlement phase into the bonafide legal system. And even then they drop the cases after shaking them down with subpoenas and discovery and other abuses of process with the hopes to bankrupt them and teach them a lesson.

RIAA shouldn't have the power to demand a list of students with certain IP addresses for what they think is happening any more than I have the right to demand the name of the person using the IP address who I suspect was cheating in my FPS server. The POLICE and other law enforcement are the ones who should have the power to do that, with the burden of criminal just cause to obtain a warrant.

If it's really a matter of law, why not just file a complaint with law ENFORCEMENT? I'll answer: to game the system because they know once casual sharing actually gets tested and appealed upwards then so very many of the copyright and DMCA clauses are in trouble under judicial review.

Re:The bully's fear (0, Flamebait)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419452)

That analogy works well with slashdot anti-RIAA sentiment, but it's not completely accurate.. the RIAA isn't just some big stupid bully, it has the full support of United States law. It sees a multibillion dollar cash cow and it's milking it- this is not the RIAA's fault, it's the government's for allowing it to happen.
Not to flame or anything, but isn't that the point? They are supported by the US Law because what downloaders/file sharers are doing is illegal. I'll admit the RIAA isn't coming up with a solution and doesn't seem to want to, they are content with just suing everyone... but if it's within their rights then I don't see what the issue is. Stop downloading/sharing or run the risks.

The bully's fear? Bollocks. (1, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418948)

Where is the bully?

do you mean the group that is backed by national and international law, has legal precedence and is largely backed (albeit reluctantly) by the makers of the music being traded?

a better analogy would be school teacher who is about to punish the kid that nicked a mars bar from the tuck shop without paying.

we may not like the **AA here on /. but to pass them up as a evil "bully" oppressing the poor users is insane. I prefer to call them a monopolistic, parasitic group screwing the creators of the music on one side and the listeners on the other, whilst using a powerful lobby to change the law in their favor to further their ambitions.

roll on the day when the radiohead model is accepted as a way to get rid of them once and for all.

Re:The bully's fear? Bollocks. (5, Interesting)

MadJo (674225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419040)

still a bad analogy. Contrary to what all those 'mandatory viewing' promos and trailers on DVDs say, copyright infringement is not equal to theft. Yes, it's a crime, but it's definitely not theft.

Unless you're in Canada and camming (3, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419290)

Here, while most of the "online" activities are still fairly safe, camming movies in a theatre is now a crime and can net you jailtime. Interestingly, that law was pushed forward by one of our ministers who was fired for sleeping with a US Corp lobbiest, yet nobody ever reviewed the bills that she had pushed forth on their behalf...

IMHO movie cammers are idiots anyhow, but I think that our prison and justice system could be put to better use, and I'd rather not be arrested myself because somebody decided to nab me because my digital camera (which I tend to keep with me at most times) can do (crappy) video and some theatre thug decided it's close enough...

Re:Unless you're in Canada and camming (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419632)

Still not a theft. :)

And also those 'theatre thugs' still have to proof you actually filmed (part of) the performance/movie. I hope the Canadian courts still believe that you are innocent until proven guilty. And I hope that'll never get reversed.

Re:The bully's fear? Bollocks. (3, Interesting)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419626)

What we need here is a good car analogy. Let me give it a go.

GM makes one, admittedly average, car and it cost them $1,000,000 to make it. They then duplicate the car by the hundreds of thousands, and sell them for $2000 each. The problem is, most people only want the doors or the wheels which are the only appealing part of the car, and millions of people in the world have the ability to exactly copy the wheels and doors, even the entire car if they want, for $50, using similar technology to what GM uses to copy the original car. So, GM is upset by that and starts suing people that copied the car, even though nothing was actually stolen from GM.

How'd I do?

Re:The bully's fear? Bollocks. (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419670)

Yes, it's a crime, but it's definitely not theft.
It is very rare for copyright infringement to rise to criminal levels. The music download/upload situation is not one of those rare cases.

Re:The bully's fear? Bollocks. (2, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419774)

It's all based on your point of view. They see it as theft because pirates are depriving them of money that would otherwise have been in their pockets from the result of a sale.

The error in this assumption, which the MPAA suffers from as well, is that all other things being equal, a pirate likely would not have payed for the copyrighted work *anyway*, even if the work was not available to 'steal'! That's what is ridiculous about the whole affair.

Re:The bully's fear? Bollocks. (3, Interesting)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419706)

we may not like the **AA here on /.
Quite, but the reasons for disliking them are legion. My own distaste comes not from the fact they sue people making available copyrighted works. Rather, it's the fact that they keep trying to shift the blame for decreasing revenue from their members churning out crap to the Internet generation and the freedom of information that brings. That they also rarely seem to get the right person to sue and their methods seem to be a technical version of map+pin+blindfold don't help their image, either. I'm yet to see someone in court ask for the RIAA's investigators' ntp logs (admittedly, I haven't looked too hard) to ensure the IP address they request information on is actually accurate at that time, but I'm sure it'll happen once people eventually get their heads around dynamic IP allocation. Can't prove your timestamps are accurate? Off you go, try again and, this time, do it properly. And no, we won't accept your stratum 16 internal server as proof of clock accuracy. External, independent strat 1 or 2 reference or bugger off.

Of course, their whole modus operandi right now relies on the fact that civil cases don't require quite as much "beyond reasonable doubt" proof as criminal cases do. Then, of course, there is the whole "punish the entire Internet" because some clown just HAS to have the latest Britney crap. No, the Recording Industry Ass. of America has nobody to blame but themselves for the way the general public see them and, by association, their members.

Re:The bully's attitude - they're pirates too! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419384)

Since the RIAA has begged to reduce the fees they pay to artists yet AGAIN, ANY standing they have as being the "protectors of artist's interests" has gone by the wayside!

Artists and composers alike need to remember that the initials stand for the "RECORDING INDUSTRY of America," not the "Recording ARTISTS of America!"

Ask any artist who has been bilked out of millions that were made on their FIRST recording... especially when their SECOND one didn't do so well... notice how well the RIAA "protects" those artists from getting their backsides kicked to the curb instead of being given another chance by the label they had just made mega-bucks for, while they got zilch for their efforts!

Re:The bully's fear (2, Informative)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419684)

To be fair, the University is "bowing down" to a threatened contempt citation by the court. Actually I believe the wording was that the court was asking the University to explain why it should NOT be found to be in contempt. To this point it looks like OSU was being protective of their students. The whole ex-parte discovery argument is one of those things that legal techies love to debate, but OSU was pretty much out of good options, it appears.

Good (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22418746)

Sue the future consumers into oblivion.

Re:Good (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418996)

Indeed, in a few years time the US will have a generation of bankrupt twenty-to-thirty-somethings. And then we'll hear the media conglomerates complaining again and start suing the next generation.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419224)

That's precisely why things will be much more interesting over the next 15-20 years. What better way to enter a business relationship than to kick your client in the teeth.

What I'm curious about, is how does an RIAA lawsuit affect a student's ability to pursue their education ? Is the cartel destroying someone's future career over a few hundred overplayed pop songs ? What does that say about the future of the nation ? We all agree that piracy is a crime, but does the punishment fit ?

Corporate America's obsession with instant profits will inevitably have a deleterious effect on tomorrow's economy. It's bad enough that students get pelted with dozens of credit cards and start their life in the red, now we're trying to tack on another few thousand dollars in RIAA settlements. The people who actually wind up paying for this are you and me. We pay when professionals increase their hourly rates, when basic food staples jump in price, heck we're paying it right now with the time spent debating these vengeful issues. Inflation is not an ethereal process that happens on a spreadsheet. The more we screw each other over, the stronger the elastic bounce-back to recover what was ours.

Greed begets greed.

Hmm.. (4, Interesting)

wellingtonsteve (892855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418756)

every time we have a story like this it is assumed that the University should help protect students from the consequences of their (potentially) illegal actions.. err.. why?

Re:Hmm.. (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418798)

I think it is more a matter that the University is entrusted with a lot of your personal data (all network traffic, your social security number etc.). The University should fight to not release that information unless they are compelled, otherwise they are not being a good custodian of your information.

I would hate for a list of every dirty website I went to in open court only to be deemed innocent in the end.

Re:Hmm.. (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419004)

The University should fight to not release that information unless they are compelled

I think the one thaing that would compel me would be a judge saying "do it or be cited for contempt". Like the Who song the RIAA label holds copyright to says, the RIAA has "a gun that fires cops".

That said, the university should fire its legal team and hire a competent one. Its students should find a more reputable university. Columbia WAS reputable, but its reputation is now that of a coward.

It seems since 9-11 cowardsce in leaders is all the vogue. And it's not just the Muslim terrorists they are terrified of, it's the corporate terrorists as well.

-mcgrew

Re:Hmm.. (2, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419008)

"unless they are compelled," But they were compelled, by a legal subpoena, issued because of evidence of illegal activity taking place. So how is what the University did wrong? They held out as long as they legally could, but you can't expect the University to take a contempt charge over students' illegal activities.

and unless you visiting all those dirty websites was somehow illegal, the university would be under no obligation to divulge any of that information. a legal subpoena would have to be based on evidence of illegal activity.

Re:Hmm.. (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418800)

Well, the RIAA's actions are very borderline in terms of legality, and IMHO it would make a good law school project.

Also, universities ought to be complying with the law and I was pretty sure that, in a couple of cases, it had been demonstrated that names did not have to be handed over by ISPs...

Re:Hmm.. (2, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418816)

Because the judge forced them to. (that's what the issue of 'contempt' is -- being arrested for not following the judge's orders)

However, if you read the article, you'd see that the RIAA still can't contact _any_ of the students, because they don't know which ones have an attorney, and they're not allowed to contact those who have an attorney. Not being an attorney, I don't know what use having the names actually does the RIAA in this state. (they could try dragging the names through the mud, but then they've got a case for libel or slander against them)

Re:Hmm.. (2, Interesting)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419348)

My view point is slightly rotated. I am currently evaluating colleges for my child. Granted, my child will be an adult while attending the college, but my child will remain my child. The RIAA's "Fisherman's Net" approach to looking for bad guys gayfully ignores that this event will never be forgotten in our Diamond Society. By sending my child to O.U., it basically transmits a message, never forgotten, that I thought it was acceptable to send my child to a college where understanding of such things as Law, is not important. Also, that standing up for one's rights, in America, is not important at O.U.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

t0rkm3 (666910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419752)

Ummm.... RTFS.

O.S.U.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419762)

OU != OSU

Re:Hmm.. (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418838)

it is assumed that the University should help protect students from the consequences of their (potentially) illegal actions

      So according to you, Universities should hand over lists of their students to anyone on demand? How about banks - I'd like to know how much is in your account. If you have too much money then you must have earned it illegally. Hey maybe I should have a look at your medical records too while I'm at it. Our studies show a positive correlation between piracy and type 2 diabetes...

Re:Hmm.. (0, Offtopic)

ijakings (982830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418888)

Our studies show a positive correlation between piracy and type 2 diabetes...
hmmm...

piracy /parsi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pahy-ruh-see] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
-noun, plural -cies.
1. practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea.
Which era of piracy? Illness tended to be a problem when they were still using wooden ships and saying YARR!

Re:Hmm.. (3, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418980)

So according to you, Universities should hand over lists of their students to anyone on demand?

How about to court orders? Like, you know, in this case.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

San-LC (1104027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419098)

Well, with the banks, all banks are required to report to the federal government the name and social security number of any person that makes a deposit of more than $10,000. I understand where you're coming from, but a lot of the things you mentioned are already happening, just not publicly disclosed.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

mordeith (1000067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419120)

im a type 2 diabetic......does that mean im a pir8

Re:Hmm.. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419314)

Our studies also show a high correlation between people with internet access and copyright infringement, so almost certainly, yes.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419818)

I think your stufy is off. What about those false positives the RIAA keeps getting?

Re:Hmm.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419686)

im a type 2 diabetic......does that mean im a pir8
Nah, if you write it like that you're just a wannabe pirate. Real pirates use parrot because they don't know how to spell.

Re:Hmm.. (2, Insightful)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419322)

it is assumed that the University should help protect students from the consequences of their (potentially) illegal actions

So according to you, Universities should hand over lists of their students to anyone on demand? How about banks - I'd like to know how much is in your account. If you have too much money then you must have earned it illegally. Hey maybe I should have a look at your medical records too while I'm at it. Our studies show a positive correlation between piracy and type 2 diabetes...

This is not "anyone on demand." To reverse your straw man, should businesses be allowed to break all the laws they want?

There was a legal request for these names, under enforcement by the court, and the University was still refusing. The University should not break the law to protect the accused. If there was a legal request made for my bank account information or medical records, I would expect the bank or medical officials to release my information. Why should they break the law to protect me? Corporations should not be able to pick and choose which laws to obey and which to ignore.

My reaction is the opposite (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22418900)

My reaction is that why are the Universities expected to be the collection agency for record companies and movie companies?

There are perfectly legal avenues to pursue for the record companies. It's just that these are more complicated and expensive. I realize that doing the right thing is usually harder, but there are usually good reasons for following process.

Re:My reaction is the opposite (1)

wellingtonsteve (892855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418970)

IMHO, given that the university is providing an Internet service to the students, they should be obliged to follow the same laws/rules/whatever as a standard ISP, even if that includes ratting out their 'customers' who have been suspected of comitting a crime.

Re:Hmm.. (2, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418916)

Nothing of the sort. Rather, the case is, should Universities be used as an internet police force for their own students or not. If the Universities did not fight such actions, then they could be held responsible for illegal internet activity that happened to occur under their watch. So, a hacker rootkits a students windows box to spread the Storm Virus, they'd be liable despite not owning the box, nor even having the person responsible being a student at their university (possibly not even being in the country).

Re:Hmm.. (3, Insightful)

jmnormand (941909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418974)

Because innocent until proven guilty is the foundation of the american justice system, and the universities are the back bone of that justice system (teaching future lawyers, judges, politicians, ect.). The universities, perhapse even more than the average american or coorporations, have an obligation to fight what it views as a potentially unjust action, until such time that they are conviced the action is warrented.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419714)

I'd say (well, hope) more that the law was the backbone of the justice system, and the universities are the womb

Re:Hmm.. (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419664)

They shouldn't protect students from the consequences of their actions. They should insist on being compelled to turn over information as a general protection for all students, and they did. They resisted, the judge ordered them to comply.

Due process isn't just a protection for the (potentially) guilty. It's also protection for the rest of us.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

tiny-e (940381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419728)

Better yet, why should the university even be asked to furnish the data? They have no control over who does what online -they are just providing access to the internet. How can it be presumed that they are responsible for even keeping those records? I guess they're probably required to log access to make sure they're doing their part in the war on terror.... Why aren't they suing Google to hand over it's logs (they aren't, are they)? I bet you can find more copyrighted material there.. These things are just the last-ditch throes of a dying parasite that is in the process of being removed from its host. Wasting money trying to artificially stave off the demise of an outmoded business model -instead of investing that cash into developing new business models that work with the way people want to receive their music.

makes sense (4, Insightful)

JasonEngel (757582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418764)

I see no reason why universities should fight to protect the privacy of it's students in circumstances like this where a judge has pretty much given the approval for the plaintiffs actions. I would not want a uni to cave just because the MAFIAA contact them, but if a judge has reviewed their requests and then tells the uni to cough up the details, I tend to feel more comfortable with it.

Re:makes sense (1)

metalcoat (918779) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418818)

Did OSU's attorneys even fight the subpoena though? It seems to me that the RIAA is up to its usual stunts playing the law. People must remember, the RIAA is not the police!

Re:makes sense (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418938)

I have to agree... The universities should be acting as common carriers, no matter how involved they are in the lives of the students. The school's infrastructure should be seen as no different under the law than and ISP's infrastructure. With judicial review of the legal actions, it is as fair as it will ever get under the current system. I feel confident that there is a way to structure their Internet services so as to qualify as common carrier-ish.

I hope that the student's lawyer is better than good.

That said, there is little outside the Terms of Service an ISP can do to stop each individual from acting as a common carrier. If you open your WiFi for all to use, current trends are to hold you responsible for how the Internet is used. Emphasis is put on filtering/regulation rather than individual's use of the services.

I was going to think of a car analogy, but water is a better likeness here. If you get your water from the city, and let your neighbors use it, are you responsible for them watering their lawns outside of prescribed watering hours? The basic legal interpretation of what Internet access is, is being treated the wrong way, or thought of in the wrong way.

Access to weapons does not make you a killer. Access to P2P sites does not make you a copyright thief. Selling guns that get used in bank robberies or murders don't make the manufacturer guilty of said crimes.

If all students were on WiFi connections, each infringement issue would involve possibly hundreds of students. While that sounds like I'm supporting wild flouting of the law, it's not. I simply do not support the way the law has been used to harass and bludgeon citizens for nothing more substantial than supporting the failed and woefully unrepentant business model of greedy bastards who mistreat customers and clients alike.

Re:makes sense (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419742)

In cases where a plaintiff is suing a "John Doe" identified by IP address and time, then I agree that the university needs to provide that identification ... if it is reliable (and I believe in a great many schools it is not reliable because IP and MAC spoofing is easy if the school uses typical LAN equipment). However, the RIAA tactic has been to merely contact students with these settlement letters demanding amounts of money the students cannot afford, and refusing to discuss issues like mis-identification. The RIAA can then do things like attack the student's credit rating and other things with no basis for the student to seek redress (because at that point they have to hire a lawyer they cannot afford and initiate the lawsuit).

And maybe it is because a lot of these schools realize that their networks are only 99.9% secure.

The attorney is Marilyn Barringer-Thompson (4, Interesting)

Cougem (734635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418782)

Interestingly, this is the same attorney who back in 2006 won a case for Debbie Foster vs. the RIAA. A good choice.

i dont understand why... (4, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418794)

I don't understand why universities dont just 'loose' these records. Is there a legal reason why records of student's online activity must be recorded? My university had a massive drive where all students could temporarily store their data. the drives were wiped clean every Friday. why not just wipe the students internet usage records every week or so?
I can't see what use that information is to the University, aside from handing it over to RIAA lawyers to screw over the very students who pay to go to that university.

you can't hand over evidence you don't have.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418824)

I don't understand why universities dont just 'loose' these records.

That didn't really make sense... did you mean 'lose'?

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419660)

'lose' is exactly what I meant.

would you believe me if I told you that I am an English teacher.

Yikes!

I, of all people, should have caught that one.

if my university handed over my private information, I would have been quite upset. but then again, I used the schools computer lab for most of my content downloading, using the 'student1' login and password, that seems to work on nearly every school network I've ever used. so they had nothing on me!

if it is illegal to wipe these records, whats next? will it be illegal for me to delete content on my computer, too? will universities ban TOR? what if someone else was on my computer? it it my fault that the world knows my password is 'qwerty'?

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419768)

would you believe me if I told you that I am an English teacher.

I hope you aren't teaching 3rd graders how to spell. But if you are, make sure they learn the difference between 'then' and 'than'. It took me 23 years to get that one straight.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418842)

you can't hand over evidence you don't have.


Tell that to whichever torrent tracking website was (within the past few months) told that although they didn't store visitor logs on disk then they were still in memory at some point and so they had to hand over lists of IPs of visitors.

You'd think it was that simple, but the law tends not to allow it as it means anyone could 'play innocent' by having a 'routine' of wiping details every X days, even if they're doing it purely to cover illegal activity.

Re:i dont understand why... (3, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419144)

It was TorrentSpy. The judge told them that they had to start keeping logs, so they did do. But they couldn't be prosecuted for not keeping logs before they were told to do so.

So, if the university had a policy of not keeping logs, their students would be safe up to the point when the RIAA got a court order to force them to start logging. Then the university could simply say to their students "we have been forced to start logging: stop your filesharing now, because the RIAA are watching".

The reason that universities don't do this is that they want logs for their own purposes, for example to track down infected machines, or people posting rude messages about the vice-chancellor.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419316)

But there was a degree of "you don't have the data isn't a defence - it is in there so just record it".

If a University has always been keeping logs but then suspects they might be in the next batch of RIAA hits then I suspect there would be major questions if they started wiping log files regularly now. Even if it wasn't directly admissible as evidence, the RIAA would bring it up as something that supported their case (only to be struck from the record, but still left in the human conscious as it isn't as easy to wipe that)

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419258)

Actually the judge just said that they now had to start storing that information, which is very different. They were not penalized for not having them until that point. It was actually a pretty reasonable decision.

Unless there is a law that says you must keep logs (which I'm sure there are in many cases) you are perfectly free to wipe them until there is a court case, at that point you would probably have to keep them or be accused of destroying evidence.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

bostonsoxfan (865285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418876)

Well it doesn't matter, my school, a big school in the Northeast all the jacks are mapped to a student. Or that is how I figure it happens at the beginning of the year you have to go in an log in with your user id and password to activate the internet, beyond that I don't know how much they do in terms of keeping data but if they get a subpoena it is rather simple ohh on that address, it is this student in this dorm and they are responsible. On a side note my schools IT department took out big ads in our paper saying yeah we aren't going to defend you if we get sued so don't do it, it is against your student code of conduct but we really don't enforce that on our network.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

xpulsar87x (305131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419288)

typical schools do it by registering your ethernet card's MAC address with an authorized user id. that way it doesn't matter what jack you plugged in, as long as it is the same computer, they know who it is.

MAC spoofing (2, Informative)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419606)

And no one told them that MAC addresses can be faked? What the know is that their equipment is getting ethernet frames with the expected MAC address once the student has logged in.

I've done such faking several times. I even have a couple computers that regularly run with a faked MAC address (for development testing purposes at work, using Intel ethernet chips). All someone needs to do is figure out a working MAC address of some other student that regularly turns off their computer, ping it every now and then to see when it goes off, and when it does, start using it along with the IP address it had acquired.

They will need to go the extra step of requiring students operate through encrypted tunnels to prevent MAC spoofing (such tunnels running through a private IP network layer that cannot reach to internet ... to a central set of tunnel servers). If the MAC address is the only continuing authentication after the student logs in, and the traffic is not encrypted, then students that know what they are doing (and willing to do it) can take over in place of many others.

And then there is the whole issue of planted proxies.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419066)

I don't understand why universities dont just 'loose' these records

Why don't you let your social security number loose?

-mcgrew [slashdot.org]

modded -1, pedant

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419490)

Actually, I think having the records loosed on them was exactly what the RIAA wanted.

Now, if the university were to lose the records, that might be interesting.

Re:i dont understand why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419676)

They are 'loosing' the records. They're letting them loose into the hands of the RIAA.

Re:i dont understand why... (1)

KlausBreuer (105581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419698)

Isn't this obvious?
Apparently, universities, ISPs, and whoever else *must* store all the communications so the state can check for all these eeeeeeevil terrorists...
And if a university refuses to do so, well, obviously they'd be searched by the army, er, police. Full body armor, drawn weapons, seizure of all electronic equipment.

No. I'm not joking. Unfortunately.

activist judges (-1, Troll)

blackjackshellac (849713) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418802)

I guess this is what the repuglicans want to replace these liberal activist judges with, assholes.

Sue Your Customers? Right... (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418806)

The last gasps of a dying industry. Anyone who wants to make it in the music industry these days knows that there is no music industry anymore. It's myspace and youtube. Frankly, such guerrilla marketing is what it takes these days for the writer of fiction [googlepages.com] or for the painter [googlepages.com] or any type of artistic pursuit. You have to make a name for yourself before you can expect any help from the so-called music industry. Really the central change of the internet era is allowing any Joe Sixpack to publish their content to a world wide audience.

Re:Sue Your Customers? Right... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419276)

So basically if you were an incredibly talented musician, your only shot at success would be to get a degree in marketing?

They mailed a list of names... (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418812)

They might have mailed a list of names, but the important thing here is, are they the right names and were these the people actually sitting at the terminals requested at the time?

University Bows to Judge Order (5, Insightful)

IceRa (844639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418814)

...would be a headline which boils it down correct.
Wheter the judges order was ok in the first place is a diffrent story.

Re:University Bows to Judge Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419806)

Or better yet...Oklahoma State University is FAIL! http://wwwfail.com/?url=osu.okstate.edu%2F [wwwfail.com]

IT'S A TRAP (5, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418878)

Funny how the RIAA got what it wanted, only to them find themselves facing something they did not expect, a prepared defense with direct experience against their tactics. One could almost say that they've fallen into a classic military maneuver, put a small token defense up first to bring the enemys offense to the front, to have it fall back, leading the enemy onto terrain of ones choosing, where you then spring the trap. Classic Sun Tzu.

I see Xerxes vs 300 Spartans in a legal sense here, so long as the defense does not leave the goat path to open up their backs they will do well.

Re:IT'S A TRAP (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419148)

Ha! You fell for it! Now give me all your mod points or this kitten gets huffed! [uncyclopedia.org]

You know I'll do it, too.

-mcgrew

Re:IT'S A TRAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419608)

Marathon is probably a more suitable comparison than Thermopylae here.

Not exactly (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22418882)

Some of the students are represented by an attorney, meaning that the RIAA is barred from contacting them directly.

Not by a long shot. Only an attorney is barred from contacting another party represented by an attorney. The RIAA itself can contact them all they want, as long as the letter comes from an individual in the RIAA who is not an attorney.

In suits I bring, contact defendants in civil litigation all the time despite the fact they are represented by an attorney. Pisses off the attorney, who wants to "filter" all information her client gets from me, but there is nothing they can do about it.

Universities are bowing to a lot more than RIAA (0, Troll)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418894)

Somewhat offtopic, but it would seem that universities are bowing to pressure from a lot more than the RIAA these days.

Earlier in the week, The College of William & Mary fired [wm.edu] its president on ideological grounds, after he removed a religious symbol from a public building, and chose to uphold students' 1st Amendment rights in light of a controversial event. The ensuing conservative smear campaign was too much for The College to handle, and he was dismissed.

How is it that Universities, which have historically been strongholds for civil rights and liberties are now ceding so easily to external demands?

Re:Universities are bowing to a lot more than RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419354)

I live in Williamsburg, VA, where the College of William and Mary is located. President Nichols seemed to be a big proponent of students' rights. I think that is a great thing to keep a school updated to the students that attend.

The Wren building, which is where the cross had been for many, many years, and was literally a part of the university, also served/serves as a wedding chapel, and I believe used to serve as a Christian chapel. Literally 10's of millions of dollars of pledged donations were being reneged on because of him removing the cross. The board had no choice (from a monetary perspective) but to force him to reinstate the cross.

As for the controversial sex-show last week, which is apparently some sort of show involving ex-porn stars or something like that did go on...mostly because of President Nichols. Williamsburg is a conservative retirement community with plenty of people who just are set in their ways. It was simply too much controversy for the university and the community to accept.

Re:Universities are bowing to a lot more than RIAA (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419360)

Just to clarify:
The religious symbol was a very old cross inside of a very old church on campus (the school is owned by the state, so it is technically a public building--a church, though, nonetheless).
The "controversal event" was a sex worker's art show (second year running, I believe).
Also important for context is understanding that the town of Williamsburg is very conservative.

I'm not saying this to say that the president's removal was necissarily right or wrong, just to show that the issue is a bit more complicated when given a more full explanation of the facts.

What happens when the RIAA goes after the Pentagon (4, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22418914)

Surely there are large numbers of DoD employees and Federal employees generally who are illegally sharing too. The Federal government's networks are famous for a lack of policing. It will be interesting to see what happens when the RIAA goes after millions of attorneys who are paid to be a lot more ruthless than the RIAA.

Re:What happens when the RIAA goes after the Penta (1)

lorg (578246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419294)

The law of the jungle kicks in before this takes place, you don't mess with things that can eat you alive. So this scenario won't ever take place.

Re:What happens when the RIAA goes after the Penta (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419390)

Surely there are large numbers of DoD employees and Federal employees generally who are illegally sharing too. The Federal government's networks are famous for a lack of policing. It will be interesting to see what happens when the RIAA goes after millions of attorneys who are paid to be a lot more ruthless than the RIAA.

It might be rather harder for the RIAA to get sympathetic legislation passed if they make a habit of that kind of thing.

Re:What happens when the RIAA goes after the Penta (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419414)

Yeah, like that will *ever* happen.

Like terrorists, they prefer "soft targets".

The real tragedy... I no longer listen to music. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419046)

We already know that we can make infinite copies of data for free. Everyone with broadband access can hypothetically have absolutely everything. There is no longer a distribution cost. So what we have here are artificial constraints set by the government to prevent distribution, allowing the content creators to retain control of copying, so that they can charge you for this costless task.

Instead of having the government spend all of its resources enforcing a law that constrains *a very good thing* such as free duplication, why doesn't the government create new laws to help reinvent the industry in a way that keeps up with advances in paradigms in ways that will benefit its citizens?

For example, what if the government decided that all music labels would sell their music THROUGH the government, with the government providing a universal, flat rate subscription service for ALL music. The record labels would then get paid a percentage of the governments music revenue based on what percentage of music distributed was theirs. The fee could even be based on income levels, and could be as low as 10 dollars a month average. This is the equivalent of 10 album purchases per person per year, which is surely far above the current average. Fine, privatize this if the government can't be trusted, but even with privatization, such a system implemented with laws far surpasses the benefits of the current system implemented with the current laws.

Something like this could never happen because as it is the government is a system that is incapable of innovation, but wouldn't it be great if it could. There are so many problems the government could solve, if only the government could innovate... They can use the Law to code society intelligently, and build social applications with that code to serve its people. Only the government has control over the Law.

Re:The real tragedy... I no longer listen to music (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419440)

No. It's actually one of the worst ideas I've ever heard.

I hurts me deep inside to think that part of my music-tax would go to "artists" such as britney spears.

Besides, what makes you think that just because you CAN copy something for free, it should be made legal? I'm pretty sure I can beat you up for free, so should I be allowed to? I'm also pretty sure I can steal a car, should it therefore be legal?

Information doesn't want to be free. Information isn't a living creature; it doesn't WANT anything. PEOPLE want information to be free. As long as it isn't their information, that is.

Re:The real tragedy... I no longer listen to music (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419618)

It wouldn't go to Britney if you did't download Britney. Computers can keep track of everything automatically (with software of course), and so your tax will be split up and given to EXACTLY who you downloaded. You download 1 artist, they get 100%. You download 2, they get 50% each.

There is a reason why theft and violence should be made illegal, and so they have. It isn't like everything we can do is illegal by default. There is no reason for copying to be made ILLEGAL other than to support the distribution business model that would otherwise be out of date. It was legal before they made it illegal.

Information is free. Did you pay for everything you know? Only for what you've been charged, and not the other way around.

Al-Qaeda must be in awe... (1)

eZainny (1239394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419068)

...at the RIAA's prowess in terrorizing the average person. I'm sure they couldn't do a better job if they tried. And make no mistake, the intent of these lawsuits is to terrorize. What the fuck sort of monetary settlement does the RIAA think they're going to get out of Uni students? At best they can hope for some beer bongs and Doritos.

Personal Opinion Follows (3, Interesting)

RockedMan40 (1130729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419346)

And no - this is not a cheap attempt at starting a flame war. I really do think the treatment of *most* individuals by the *IAA is pretty shabby, and in some case questionably legal. *IAA just has the financial backing to try, and the publicity mostly helps them, does not hurt them in a meaningful way. Since they *want* to be perceived as relatively evil group that you as the 'average joe/jane' are powerless against.

Now - the opinion part. I do hope they persist in this tactic. I recently have been turning to indie music in various forms and ya know what - found some *really* good material! Stuff I am happy to throw out a few $ to the artist, especially if they are getting a large cut of the money. And when I say really good - I mean excellent. Outstanding. Prime stuff. I haven't turned on my radio in vehicle or home since I started.

So - RIAA - keep it up. Indie music is my new crack - and their tactics are only ensuring a greater supply chain to me!

2 options... (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419526)

But now that the RIAA has what it wanted, the group is unsure about how to go about sending out its pre-litigation settlement letters. Some of the students are represented by an attorney, meaning that the RIAA is barred from contacting them directly.
They can send the letter to the lawyer or they can serve the student with a lawsuit.

Simple.

Alma Mater (2, Funny)

halber_mensch (851834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22419532)

D'oh!

Cowed to court order, We'll curse your name;
Oklahoma State, We hold you to blame.
RIAA will find us-and we'll be sued.
Thanks to our Alma Mater, O...S...U.

So, how much did the RIAA pay the judge? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419578)

"Judge, your recent decision to threaten to hold OSU in contempt of court for attempting to stop the RIAA from extorting money from college students suggests that you may be being illegally bribed and/or in collusion with the RIAA's organized crime tactics. We the people therefore find sufficient cause for a search and seizure of any and all bank accounts, personal property, and any other assets you may own."

"What's that, you say? There isn't sufficient evidence for such an action? Funny, that didn't seem to stop you..."

My logs are my own IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22419594)

Why don't the universities play the game in reverse?

Oh no, you cant view my logs because you would be violating my copyright... are you a THIEF?
My logs are sold for $400,000USD per record.
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