University of Wisconsin-Madison Will Not Forward RIAA Letters To Students

Jason, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has written in to share what his school is doing in response to the RIAA P2PLawsuit.com campaign. In this campaign, attorneys for Sony, Universal, EMI, Warner Music Group and more sent letters to several colleges demanding that they be forwarded to students. The letter (PDF) threatens students with a lawsuit and instructs them to identify themselves and pay a settlement to the recording companies via the website P2Plawsuits.com.

UW-M has sent an email informing students that although they’ve been given letters to forward to students, they university will not comply without a written subpoena. Read Jason’s email inside.

Jason writes:

I am a student at UW-Madison as you can most likely tell by my e-mail address. I noticed an article a week or so back about the RIAA contacting schools and trying to have the schools voluntarily give up information reguarding its users. Well, since my school is #10 on the list, I assumed we would be getting contacting eventually also, and we finally did.

This is the e-mail, which was digital signed by the university:

The recording industry is threatening lawsuits against those who may have
engaged in illegal file sharing. They are currently targeting students who
live in university residence halls. Recently, UW-Madison and other
universities have been notified that they will receive settlement letters
that are to be passed on to the individuals whom the senders believe to be
guilty of copyright infringement. Consistent with current network
management procedures and our understanding of federal law, UW-Madison does
not plan to forward these letters directly to campus network users. We
will, of course, comply with a valid subpoena.

However, if the UW-Madison is given cause to believe that a student,
faculty or staff network user may have infringed on copyrights, it will
take action. University network policies empower the CIO to terminate that
person’s network access until the matter is resolved. The Dean of Students
office (for students) or supervisors (for employees) will be notified and
other disciplinary action may be taken, as appropriate.

Unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted works is illegal in
many circumstances, and a violation of the university’s Appropriate Use
Policy. Please be advised of your rights and responsibilities under these
rules. For more information, see:

Ken Frazier
Interim CIO,
UW-Madison

This e-mail seemed like more of a scare tactic then anything else to me. Well, I went to visit some friends for the weekend, and when I returned by internet wasn’t working. Tried to load Firefox and was directed to this page: https://netreg.resnet.wisc.edu/copyright.php Now that might only load if you are on the network, but it was basically the e-mail again, a button to accept the terms, and then you had to enter your login/password information, as if you are first accepting the internet terms of use.

Here is a copy paste from that page if it does not load:
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE UNIVERSITY ABOUT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT – PLEASE READ

The recording industry is threatening lawsuits against those who may have engaged in illegal file sharing. They are currently targeting students who live in university residence halls. Recently, UW- Madison and other universities have been notified that they will receive settlement letters that are to be passed on to the individuals whom the senders believe to be guilty of copyright infringement. Consistent with current network management procedures and our understanding of federal law, UW-Madison does not plan to forward these letters directly to campus network users. We will, of course, comply with a valid subpoena.

However, if the UW-Madison is given cause to believe that a student, faculty or staff network user may have infringed on copyrights, it will take action. University network policies empower the CIO to terminate that person’s network access until the matter is resolved. The Dean of Students office (for students) or supervisors (for employees) will be notified and other disciplinary action may be taken, as appropriate.

Unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted works is illegal in many circumstances, and a violation of the university’s Appropriate Use Policy. Please be advised of your rights and responsibilities under these rules. For more information, see http://www.doit.wisc.edu/security/policies/appropriate_use.asp. Also see the ResNet Appropriate Use Policy for more information specific to housing residents.

Ken Frazier
Interim CIO,
UW-Madison

(Check Box) I have read the above message about copyright infringement.

NetID:

Password:

Now this confuses me, it clearly states in the terms of use that illegal activity is not allowed. Why would they make us “sign” this new page before we can use the internet? Is this extra agreement is going to lead to them voluntarily giving up our information? or perhaps they are going to monitor and disable those who illegal download music.

I was just curious if perhaps you had received any information about other schools having to renew, and if there is any significance in it , or is it just an extra step to make sure the university isn’t held liable?

We’re not attorneys or anything, but we interpret this as a warning to students that they should stop using the university network to share files. No one can say the students were not informed. What do you think? —MEGHANN MARCO

PREVIOUSLY: RIAA Bullies College Students With P2PLawsuits.com

The RIAA P2PLawsuit Letter Sent To College Students