University of Michigan Giving Up Students to the RIAA

Bad news for students at the University of Michigan. At least twelve of you are in the process of being identified to the RIAA, according to Paul Howell, Chief Information Technology Security Officer of the University. Why's Paul giving you up? Read the letter after the jump.

For current students, you should probably not use the University's bandwidth for your bittorrenting. For prospective students, here's one more place to cross off your list.

Update: Looks like both Giz and Wired misread the email. UM won't be giving up the names without a subpoena. Good for them!

On Friday, March 9, and Saturday, March 10, the University of Michigan received notification that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) intends to sue or receive settlement from more than a dozen members of the U-M community engaged in unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing of music over the Internet. The RIAA has designated these individuals through IP addresses, and the University is in the process of identifying and notifying them.

This action is part of an increased effort to curtail unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing. As a result, individuals who engage in this practice are more likely than ever to be identified and sued by the RIAA. Most have settled these lawsuits out-of-court, typically for $4,000-$4,500.

The University does not condone unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing. Individuals who engage in it are violating a variety of University policies including Standard Practice Guide 601.7 - Proper Use of Information Resources, Information Technology, and Networks at U-M. This reminder also has been sent to all faculty and students.

Faculty, staff, or students who have installed peer-to-peer file sharing programs on their computers and are concerned that they might be unwittingly sharing files illegally should visit the University of Chicago's useful web page that describes how to disable file sharing on a variety of programs (http://security.uchicago.edu/guidelines/peer-to-peer/).

U-M maintains a web page (http://www.copyright.umich.edu) that describes the University's position on illegal sharing of copyrighted materials and also includes a growing list of FAQs. All members of the University community are encouraged to study the materials on this page.

Lawful downloading of music is possible through sites such as Apple iTunes, MSN Music, Rhapsody, Ruckus, etc. Details about a number of these sites are available at:
http://mp3.about.com/od/wheretobuymusic/a/all_profile.htm and http://mp3.about.com/od/freemusicdownloads/tp/freeandlegalmp3.htm.

Paul Howell
Chief Information Technology Security Officer


University of Michigan Identifying Students to RIAA, According to Email [Wired]