University Business - February 2009 - (Page 6)

EDITOR’S NOTE A New Chapter In The P2P Saga ast month, the RecoRding industry association of america (Riaa) announced it would stop targeting college students who, allegedly, have illegally downloaded music. it’s the latest chapter in a long-running story of an industry trying to come to grips with a technology it can’t control, and higher education is stuck in the middle. the basic story line is that the internet has funda- without having evidence that the charges were accurate. still, except for a few cases, the Riaa has been largely mentally changed the way music and other media are distributed, and the industry—except for some forward- unable to prosecute the P2P suits. File sharing continues, thinking companies such as apple and amazon—hasn’t now joined by movie and video game trading. Last month the Riaa asked figured out a way to profit from it. to dismiss its case against a Bosso, rather than adjust to new techDespite appearing to ton University student after a nology, the Riaa tried to stop it back down, the RIAA has judge ruled that “making [copyaltogether. it shut down the early righted works] available for dispeer-to-peer sites like napster, but merely shifted its focus. tribution,” without proof that others quickly sprang up to take they were actually distributed, their place. then the association decided to target the source of the most egregious file- doesn’t establish that copyright infringement occurred. then came the announcement that the Riaa would sharing: students at colleges and universities. in five years, the Riaa has issued some 35,000 law- cease its lawsuit campaign. call me skeptical, but i don’t believe the Riaa has suits against alleged music pirates, many of whom were turned tail and run in defeat. in fact, i think now, more using their institutions’ high-speed networks. the group filed suit after suit, and then … not much than before, universities need to step up their efforts to changed. at some schools, getting caught sharing files got curb file sharing. Why? Because, despite appearing to you kicked off the network for a while—a week or maybe back down, the Riaa has merely shifted its focus. Rather the entire semester—while others blocked all P2P appli- than pursuing individual users, and causing paperwork headaches for colleges and universities, the association cations. Yet the practice continues. the Riaa turned up the heat at the beginning of has put the onus directly on the internet service provid2008 with a flood of more than 800 “pre-settlement ers. the isPs will be charged with identifying and relitigation” letters to colleges and universities across the porting perpetrators. if the practice persists, the isP can country. the letters, which were supposed to be deliv- dial back or even deny service. Whether the isPs comered by university administrators, informed students ply or not is another question—no one has suggested that they would be the targets of copyright infringe- who will foot the bill for their efforts—but such a threat ment lawsuits—unless they stopped the practice and is potentially more damaging to institutions that rely so paid a settlement. students were even encouraged to heavily on fast-flowing information. turn themselves in and pay fines online. although critics likened it to extortion, many schools complied and a few students took the bait and paid settlements. at other institutions, such as Duke University, administrators resisted forwarding the letters to students Write to Tim Goral at L 6 | February 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - February 2009

University Business - February 2009
Editor's Note
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Behind the News
Sense of Place
Independent Outlook
Wireless Windfall
Share and Share Alike
Achieving the Turnaround
Internet Technology
What's New
End Note

University Business - February 2009