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September 27, 2004

Issue No. 66

Table of Contents

Highlights and Features

Grokker at Stanford
CourseWork-Fall 2004
File-Sharing-Consequences
File-Sharing Myths
File-Sharing Resources
IT Open House October 28
Tech Help for Faculty
Essential SU Software
Desktop Computer Security
Security Self-Help Tool
Wireless Access-SU Visitors
SULAIR Home Page Update
SU Course Support Web Site copy

Library Resources

SULAIR Image Collections
SKIL Tutorial Enhanced
Scholars Workshops for Fall
Social Science Data
Literary Studies Database
New Lane Library Web Site
Firing Line TV Program
ArcGIS 9 Available
SSRC Past Events Online
BIOSIS Changes
HighWire Press-New Journals
EuroNews Web Site

Computing News

Accessible Web Pages
AFS Disk Quota Increased
Online Lecture Assessment
Teaching with Technology
Resources for SU Webmasters
ATS Program-New Projects
ATL Project Showcase
Spam Deletion Tool
ITSS Training Services
Training Registration
HelpSU Streamlined
New Webmail Is Here
Printing in Sweet Hall
Sweet Hall Consulting
Mac OS X Migration
PeopleSoft System Upgraded
Bookstore Computer Store
Courselets for SU Community
Sundial Calendar Changes
TeamSpace in Meyer Library
Meyer Classrooms
Meyer Tech Desk Update
Technology Help on Web

File-Sharing: Beware of the Consequences

While life at The Farm was quiet over the summer, the U.S. Senate was actively looking for ways to crack down on unlawful file-sharing. Senators held hearings on two new pieces of legislation:

• The Inducing Infringements of Copyright Act of 2004 (http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/COE04694.pdf) ) that would create vicarious liability for "whoever intentionally induces any violation" of copyright law, and

• The PIRATE Act that would provide two million dollars to the Attorney General for the purpose of funding civil actions against copyright infringers on behalf of copyright owners.

While it is not clear whether either of these pieces of legislation will become law, it is clear that copyright owners, led by powerful forces such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), are ramping up their efforts to put a stop to unlawful file-sharing through peer to peer (P2P) networks by means of legislation, litigation and education campaigns.

Given that copyright owners are becoming more vocal about protecting works in electronic media, it makes sense to remind users of the Stanford network services about the dangers of file-sharing.

What's the Law?
In a nutshell, copyright law provides that the person (or company) responsible for the creation of a work (e.g., the songwriter, the movie studio, the author) gets to control the distribution of that work. Copyright owners determine the number and price of copies to be distributed.

The problem with peer-to-peer file-sharing of copyrighted works is that it unlawfully takes the distribution control away from the copyright owner, and leaves the owner cut out of the expected profits. The RIAA claims that artists and recording studios have lost billions from unlawful file-sharing, and undoubtedly movie and television studios and authors share the RIAA's concern that unlawful file-sharing cuts into their profit margins.

Unlawful File-Sharing: What Are the Consequences?
The consequences for people who use the Stanford network to unlawfully file-share can be steep, and can come from different fronts. Both the copyright owner and the University may impose penalties.

DMCA Complaints Are Sent to Stanford: A copyright owner or an authorized agent may lawfully scan Internet traffic under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and if it is discovered that a work was shared without permission, a complaint is sent to Stanford as the Internet service provider (ISP). For example, Universal Studios sends a DMCA complaint to Stanford indicating that a particular IP address on the Stanford network unlawfully downloaded a copy of the movie, The Bourne Identity.

If the copyright owner chooses to follow-up with civil litigation, it may file a "John Doe" lawsuit against the IP address, and Stanford would have to provide the identity of the Stanford network user in response to a valid subpoena. Civil liability for copyright violations can result in penalties of up to $150,000 per violation, and it is a violation to both download copyrighted material and to share copyrighted works with others.

To put this in perspective, a CD with 10 songs could be the subject of litigation seeking over a million dollars in damages, and the defendants could be both the person who downloaded the 10 songs through a P2P and the person who bought the CD, and then allowed it to be shared through a P2P network.

Early in 2004, a John Doe lawsuit was filed against a user of the Stanford network, which alleged the Stanford network user unlawfully shared or downloaded 11 songs. This lawsuit settled with the Stanford network user paying in the thousands of dollars to the copyright owners.

What Stanford Does: Stanford follows up and responds to every DMCA complaint. If an individual at Stanford receives more than one DMCA complaint, the matter is referred for consideration of further disciplinary action: for undergraduate students, the matter is referred to a residential dean; for graduate students and faculty, the matter is referred to a Department Chair; and for staff, the matter is referred to a supervisor and to Human Resources.

Upon receipt of a very rare third DMCA complaint, administratively, Stanford terminates Internet connectivity, including disabling the SUNet ID, and the matter is referred on for discipline: students are referred to Judicial Affairs; faculty are referred to the Provost; and staff are referred to Human Resources and can expect to be terminated.

For More Information
Questions may be addressed to Lauren Schoenthaler, University Counsel at lks@stanford.edu.

See also "SU Resources on Copyright and File-Sharing" and "File-Sharing Myths" in this issue.