Copyright Infringment Litigation

WARNING ABOUT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LITIGATION

 

Notice sent to students on Sept. 21, 2007

 

Whatever your views on music sharing, copyright, and the appropriateness of what the RIAA is doing, every student at Colby needs to be aware of these seven facts:

 

1) Copyright infringement is illegal under federal law.  You infringe copyright restrictions held on music, movies or software when you download it to your computer or make it available for others to download from your computer.

 

2) Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software (KaZaA, Limewire, BitTorent, eDonkey, Morpheous, etc.) makes file sharing very easy but also highly visible to investigators out on the Internet.  You should assume that your use of any P2P application is being monitored by investigators out there on the Internet.

 

3) Colby's policies and procedures are not a shield from litigation for anyone illegally sharing files.  In particular, you should not view the following as protecting you from legal action when you have infringed copyright:

-- Limitations in bandwidth for P2P application use.

-- The 14-day log retention policy.

-- Your right to privacy under the Code of Ethics for IT at Colby College.

 

4) Last spring the RIAA started issuing pre-litigation settlement letters (essentially, pay us a settlement fee of $3,000 to $5,000 or we will sue you!).  See the ITS policy page for the notice that I sent to students last spring and the five settlement letters Colby received.

 

5) The RIAA has, for several weeks, had its investigative sights on Colby's network as seen through the P2P file sharing applications.  This is expected to continue indefinitely.  They have already initiated action against the owners of several computers on the Colby network.

 

6) Now that you know the very real risks that you face, I hope you will remove any P2P applications you have on your computer.  You can find information about how to do it here:

        www.colby.edu/administration_cs/its/support/p2p-removal.cfm

 

7) If you install a P2P application on a College-owned computer, you put the College and its employees at risk.  Disciplinary action may be taken against you.  In the event of legal action by a copyright owner against the College or any employee as a result of what you have done in this regard, disciplinary and possibly legal action is highly likely to be taken against you.  The same is true if you have installed this software on another student's computer, putting them at risk.

 

Dealing with copyright infringement complaints from the RIAA and other representatives of copyright owners outside the College continues to take significant staff resources away from support that benefits the academic programs of the College.  Furthermore, I am sure you don't want to have to face a $5,000 settlement payment to avoid a much, much larger judgment in a lawsuit.  However, it is entirely up to you.

 

If you have questions about this notice or the College's IT policies, please feel free to contact me (phone 4209, email Ray.Phillips@colby.edu, or stop by my office in Lovejoy 101).  However, I cannot provide legal advice.

 

Ray Phillips, Dir. of IT Services