RIAA 1, Badgers 0: Judge Orders University of Wisconsin-Madison To Turn Over Student IDs

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been ordered by a federal judge to hand over the names and contact information of the 53 UW students accused of file sharing over the university’s networks. From the Wisconsin State Journal:

On Tuesday, 16 record companies represented by the Recording Industry Association of America filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking the names associated with 53 Internet connections for copyright infringement. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John Shabaz signed an order requiring UW-Madison to relinquish the names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and Media Access Control addresses for each of the 53 individuals.

UW had initially declined to forward the “settlement” letters to their students, preferring to wait for a court order. The RIAA record companies responded by filing 53 “John Doe” lawsuits against the UW students. “We had every indication that they were going to be going in this direction,” said Ken Frazier, interim chief information officer at UW-Madison. “It’s the step the RIAA would have to take to get the identity of a user of our network.” “We continue to be really concerned for students,” he said. “The prospect of being sued in federal court is a really scary one.”

Looks like the RIAA is winning.—MEGHANN MARCO

Music industry wins UW IDs in file-sharing case [Wisconsin State Journal]

RIAA Bullies College Students With P2PLawsuits.com
The RIAA P2PLawsuit Letter Sent To College Students
University of Wisconsin-Madison Will Not Forward RIAA Letters To Students


Edit Your Comment

  1. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    I HATE THE DAMN RIAA. I guess they can’t make any money of their artists now because of all the downloading that they have to sue anyone with a single phuckin’ MP3 on there comps..numero uno too..props..

  2. ganzhimself says:

    I just want to set the record straight… UW Madison is not UW-M. That would be UW-Milwaukee. Madison is simply UW.

    Thank you.

  3. ganzhimself says:

    …Or UW-Madison.

  4. Ryan Duff says:

    It doesn’t mean they’re winning… it just means that they’re being forced to use the same legal sidestep procedure they have used for the past few years.

    Technically they’re losing because now they have to go to court and try and prove it instead of collecting “protection” money outside of a lawsuit.

  5. MeOhMy says:

    A win for RIAA? No – a win for due process! It’s still copyright infringement, and those guilty of it should still be held responsible, but there’s a right way to do so and trying to coerce entities to turn over information outside of legal channels is NOT the right way.

  6. bluwapadoo says:


    It’s not people who have a single mp3 on their computers, it’s people who SHARE that copyrighted mp3 with others that they go after.

  7. lincolnparadox says:

    Troy F.–

    The University does have a right to protect the personal information of its students, faculty and staff. Plus, they don’t have to forward correspondence to anyone.

    It was a stalling tactic, at best, but also a message from at least one University system that they aren’t going to help the RIAA bully their students into settlement.

  8. Stepehn Colbert says:

    well, they’ve had long enough without being properly addressed in a lawsuit. Lets see how many were smart enough to lose their hard-drives.

  9. bobbyk says:

    I don’t see this, necessarily, as a loss. If anything, this proves that universities should require court orders before handing over student’s information. Also, this way it’s costing the university to file, rather than just padding their pockets.

    Oh, and having seen the decreasing record sales, we know that the RIAA isn’t winning.

  10. niccernicus says:

    @Stepehn Colbert:

    “Lets see how many were smart enough to lose their hard-drives.”

    Badgers are crafty!

    Wouldn’t it be great to see that all the evidence is gone by the time the f’n RIAA gets to the students?

  11. NeoteriX says:

    @Stepehn Colbert:
    The RIAA most likely already has evidence of the piracy in the form of IP logs with information tracking the sending and receipt of copyrighted material. They probably wouldn’t file suit if their case banked on the hope that the students would still have MP3s on their hard drive.

  12. Buran says:

    @ganzhimself: Complaining about someone who uses an acronym that is perfectly valid is sooooooo classy.

  13. shdwsclan says:

    The students can EASILY change their mac addresses and claim password theft from a hardware keylogger.

    Legally, they cant be charged, since some else would be then able to register a computer in their name….

    The RIAA has no proof that it indeed is them….

    Wipe your drives and use the one of the following defenses…
    Keylogger defense – ID theft…etc
    Wireless router defense –most popular
    And last but not least….
    accordingto copyright law, you can make copies for yourself of copyrighted data you own, so just buy the music, especially if its on clearance on ebay, present is as exhibit A and countersue…

    Sharing music is not a crime, even copyrighted music, but downloading it if you dont have origionals is….also, isnt there a 24 grace period and if you delete it by then, then you can get sued….

    The RIAA oversteps their bounds because many lawyers are computer illterate and its expensive to get a lawyer with a BAR and Bachelors in CS.

  14. thewaz says:

    That’s so sad, it was an enourmous feat by UW Madison, and great while it lasted.

  15. Falconfire says:

    @NeoteriX: Wrong wrong, and wrong.

    The RIAA hasnt had a shred of evidence beyond knowing such and such a IP has been distributing. They cant actually trace said IP to its source which is why when they sued that mother she managed to not only win, but get the courts to order the RIAA to pay back ALL of her attorneys fees, which they are now violating the court order of (and have been threatened with being arrested by the judge)

  16. Canadian Impostor says:

    @shdwsclan: You can’t win an RIAA case by showing up with a pile of CDs and receipts. The point is that they care about you uploading your music to other people which is copyright infringement whether you bought the CD or not.

    Sharing copyrighted music absolutely is a crime in our legal system, and there’s no 24 hour grace period for you to try before you buy. It sucks, but that’s how it is.

  17. maciejb says:

    Funny, in kindergarden they tried to get me to share, now they have to sue me to stop. Hahah..

    That may be a crime in the legal system, but it’s called civil disobediance. The law doesn’t make it right, it just makes it the law.

  18. jitrobug says:

    Like somebody else said, it isn’t a victory for the RIAA – the victory for the RIAA was the universities who didn’t require a court order.

    What’s up with the school that told the RIAA they’d have to pay for the computing staff’s time in tracking people down?

  19. Kornkob says:

    There are so many cool pictures of the UW it’s a shame they picked a rather mundane shot of the top end of State Street and the capitol building.

    Like this one:
    All about the beer drinking and the live music at the Terrace.

    Or this, if you must get the capitol building: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jess_anderson/160324239/

    Or this pic of the front of the Federal Courthouse (where this ruling was probably made)

    In any case, it was nice to see the U Dub DoIT stand up to the RIAA as long as it did.

  20. MeOhMy says:

    @maciejb: Participation in civil disobedience is supposed to further some noble goal (protesting slavery or English colonialism, for example).

    What is the desired outcome of sharing copyrighted works?

    In fact (Disney’s periodic purchasing of an extension aside), copyright protection over creative works is a Good Thing. Wholesale reproduction of creative works without paying the creator is a bad thing.

    If people want to stick it the RIAA, it would make more sense to completely boycott RIAA’s members than to share their products and set them up to try to use the civil justice system as a profit center to replace their flagging record sales (or at the very least waste a lot of taxpayer resources trying to do so).

  21. WNW says:

    I havn’t bought music since 1998…I haven’t really downloaded any either. I’ve got a copy of Led Zepplin’s Four on CD. I’m good.

  22. JustThisGuy says:

    I know it’s a fallacy to accuse an entity of wasting their resources when their time could be put to better use (ex: I could be volunteering instead of surfing the net), but really: has anyone thought about the world problems that could be solved if any decent, charitable organization had the legal muscle and bulldog tenacity of the RIAA?

    The mind boggles.

  23. axiomatic says:

    Yeah, just don’t buy, borrow, or steal their product. EVER AGAIN. They will die in time.

    I’m on my 7th year of no RIAA purchases now. (Yeah they pissed me off a long time ago.)

    I’ll buy the first round of drinks when the RIAA is gone. Deal?

  24. maciejb says:

    Due to their virtual monopoly on music, I feel I have no choice but to “steal” their product. I don’t believe it really is stealing, but this isn’t an ethical debate. Yes, I know, I can find independent music myself, and sort out the crap and whatnot, but that’s not the way our society listens to music. For many people including myself, music isn’t just one guy and one iPod. Music is a way to relate to others and society. It’s a language of sorts. Boycotting RIAA products is like boycotting the English language. Sure, I would much rather speak my native Polish, but certainly I couldn’t be expected to stop speaking English simply because someone had copyrighted it.

  25. FLConsumer says:


  26. jaewon223 says:

    Universities or any other institution that the RIAA tries to get their hands on people should not have to adhere to simply RIAA’s demands. It costs the University time and money to oblige to the RIAA and those costs get handed down to who else but the students!!

    Going through the legal channels is probably most difficult for both sides to do but that’s the only way it should be done. RIAA isn’t the police.

  27. MeOhMy says:

    @maciejb: So instead of our society listening to music and sorting out the wheat from the chaff of what we like, we just take the crap that the RIAA feeds us as a sign that “This is good music”? Yikes…

    But then if you genuinely like the music from the RIAA stable, why not pay for it so that the artists can get their (literal) nickel?

    You can do whatever you want….I’m not going to pass judgement on you for sharing the music.

    Just don’t try and justify it as “civil disobedience,” any justification for participating is self-serving which is anathema to the goals of civil disobedience. You have options.