Milwaukee says NO to RIAA

Recently, the University of Wisconsin (based in Madison, WI) announced that it would not forward on threatening letters from the RIAA to its students. Now, some of the other schools in the system are going along with it in what can only be seen as a setback to the recording industry's thuggish policies.

According to an email sent to all members of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) such letters will not be passed on to students. The full text of the email reads

SUBJECT: Illegal File Sharing at UWM
This announcement is being sent to all known UWM faculty, staff and student e-mail addresses.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has recently increased its threat of lawsuits against students and others who engage in illegal digital file sharing. This is in response to perceived violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which specifically addresses copyright infringement of digital materials such as music, movies and software.
As you may know from recent press reports, the RIAA is now targeting individuals who live in university residence halls or use university computing resources. Because the RIAA can only identify violators by their ISP (Internet Service Provider) identifier, they are sending letters to universities requesting that these letters be forwarded to students, faculty and staff.
The RIAA notified UWM of its plans to send settlement proposal letters for individuals on the UWM campus whom they believe are guilty of violating federal copyright laws. These letters request that a monetary settlement be made by the violator in lieu of court action by the RIAA.
After consultation with UW System, our own legal counsel and with our understanding of federal law, UWM has decided that these letters will not be passed on to individuals. However, should RIAA send UWM a lawful subpoena for users’ account information, UWM will comply.
It is important to be aware of copyright law and avoid illegal P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing.
For more information, visit the UWM Information Security Web Site at https://www3.uwm.edu/imt/security/index.cfm.

This is clearly a boon to its students, where there are more important things to do than respond to a glorified extortion letter. Bravo Wisconsin for standing up for your students, and dealing with the RIAA’s cheesy plan appropriately.

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