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UW-Eau Claire Responds to Illegal File Sharing

RELEASED: March 22, 2007

Campus Contacts

Chip Eckardt, chief information officer: 715-836-2381 or eckardpp@uwec.edu

Andrew Phillips, interim associate vice chancellor for academic affairs:
715-836-5262 or phillipa@uwec.edu

Summary

UW-Eau Claire administrators were notified this week that the Recording Industry of America Association has identified 23 computer users at UW-Eau Claire who have illegally downloaded or uploaded copyrighted music on a peer-to-peer file sharing network. RIAA has identified a total of 805 computer users at 36 colleges and universities nationwide. The association has stated that federal lawsuits will be brought against the students that would seek $750 per song unless they settle beforehand for a lesser amount.

RIAA does not know the students' names but have identified them by their Internet Protocol addresses. The association has asked UW-Eau Claire and other UW System schools to send "cease and desist" letters from RIAA attorneys to the students who have been targeted informing them of their option to settle.

UW-Eau Claire will notify the students that they have been identified by the association, and will convey to them the substance of the RIAA letter. If the association chooses to pursue legal action against the specific individuals, they may do so through appropriate legal channels.

UW-Eau Claire takes copyright issues seriously and in no way condones student actions that violate copyright laws. The university has taken a number of steps to address the issue of illegal file sharing and related issues. Some of these activities have been going on for a long period of time, while others are new or in the process of being implemented.

Ongoing campus activities

  • UW-Eau Claire regularly provides education and information to the campus community via direct e-mails, posters, information on Web sites, training, etc.
  • UW-Eau Claire provides free support to students who want to remove peer-2-peer software.
  • UW-Eau Claire sponsors Ruckus, a subscription service providing legal file sharing for music, movies and other copyrighted materials. This service is available to students (on and off campus), faculty and staff. Students can download to their computers for free and download to a portable device for a reduced fee.
  • Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich and other university administrators have discussed copyright issues with students during numerous face-to-face conversations, including during Chancellor Roundtables, freshman orientation sessions and Student Senate meetings.

New actions at UW-Eau Claire

  • The university's CIO will send an e-mail to the entire campus community this week reminding them of the laws regarding copyrighted materials.
  • The university will contact the 23 students whose computers have been identified by RIAA as being used to illegally share music. It will notify the students that their computer has been identified by RIAA and that RIAA is threatening legal action against them.
  • UW-Eau Claire administrators are working with student leaders to develop a new policy that outlines the steps the university will take when notified by recognized groups such as the RIAA that copyright violations have occurred.
  • A committee will research additional educational measures for students who violate copyright laws.

Online resources

Additional information about UW-Eau Claire's computer policies and guidelines can be found at www.uwec.edu/lts/policies/index.htm.

Quotes from UW-Eau Claire sources

"We take copyright laws very seriously on this campus, and in no way condone the actions of students who violate those laws. We are actively working to educate our students about those laws and the potential consequences of violating them." Brian Levin-Stankevich, Chancellor

"As we began developing the new copyright policy, I asked a number of students what it would take to make them stop file sharing. Most said restricting access to the network would make them stop. So that will be the basis of our policy, which we believe will help greatly reduce the number of copyright violations on campus." Chip Eckardt, CIO

-30-

JB

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