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RIAA again eyes Penn State
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2004-02-16
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Penn State is infamous as the first American university to cave into the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and to start actively marketing Napster II on campus for Napster's owner, Roxio, and, ultimately, the record labels, which own the RIAA. The University of Rochester recently followed suit.

So has pressure from the RIAA, which got the deal moving in the first place, slackened?

Apparently, it hasn't.

"It seems as if the University is under intense scrutiny at the moment from the RIAA, who is just itching for people to sue," says a story in the Daily Pennsylvanian here, going on:

"Penn Information Technology Specialist Ian Kelley wrote in a recent e-mail to residents of King's Court/English House, 'If file sharing is playing with fire normally, it's playing with napalm now'."

The major record labels were able to maneuvere their way into universities across the US by threatening students with lawsuits for allegedly infringing copyrights by downloading 'unauthorised' music from p2p networks.

This enabled the RIAA to both 'persuade' educational authorites to join the entertainment industry's Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities, and to channel product through the universities.

Napster II is the first pipeline, but it won't be the last.

If students download from 'services' we approve (and which coincidentally offer downloads from the entertainment industry) there'll be no reason to sue them, was in effect their advise on how to stop students from ending up in court.

However, "Penn has received numerous IP addresses, dates and times of alleged file sharing incidents, 'letting us know we should expect subpoenas ordering us to provide name[s], addresses and telephone numbers of the machine order', said Dave Millar, a University information security officer," the Daily Pennsylvanian continues.

" 'These subpoenas, if issued, would not have the same legal flaw as those that Verizon successfully contested in December'," he added.

The 'flaw' he's referring to is the fact that until the courts put a stop to it, the RIAA was using subpoenas issued under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to intimidate individuals and organizations.

Be that as it may, presumably, the students in question aren't using Napster II, contrary to Penn State's implied instructions.

Over the past few months, "we've been getting e-mails from the RIAA that we may be getting subpoenas," the Daily Pennsylvanian quotes Robert Terrell, an intellectual property lawyer with Penn's general counsel," as saying, adding:

"If the lawsuits are in proper form, Penn will be under legal obligation to hand over the information. And we will do it."


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