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New Information from RIAA Sent to Presidents by ACE
From: George Russ <george.russ () CITADEL EDU>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 14:33:17 -0500

David Ward and the American Council on Education's

President to President

Vol. 8, No. 8

February 28, 2007


*       Recording Industry to Announce Efforts to Limit Illegal
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing on Campus  

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will announce today
that it is initiating legal action against individuals who engage in
illegal file sharing of copyrighted materials using peer-to-peer
systems. Roughly 400 of these actions will be taken against college
students and the RIAA has asked that we share the following letter
f=0>  with you.     

In the last three years, several higher education organizations,
including ACE, the Association of American Universities, the National
Association of State Universities of Land-Grant Colleges, and EDUCAUSE
have worked with the entertainment industry to address this serious,
continuing problem. The Joint Committee of the Higher Education and
Entertainment Communities, currently chaired by William E. Kirwan,
chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and Cary Sherman,
president of the RIAA, has communicated regularly with campuses about
this issue and the need to take appropriate action to stop it.      

These efforts, along with the hard work of campuses, have undoubtedly
deterred many individuals from engaging in illegal downloading but there
is no doubt that this practice continues to be a significant problem
that demands attention.   

The RIAA's letter states that it will initiate a "pre-notice plan" that
allows students to settle claims before a formal lawsuit is filed. A
summary of their approach is attached to the RIAA letter. We have not
had time to fully evaluate this idea and cannot, at present, formally
advise you on this matter, but it may provide potential benefits to
students facing lawsuits as well as to the RIAA. In the event that your
institution is contacted, we encourage you to review the proposal with
legal counsel and determine whether this approach makes sense for your

An attachment to the letter outlines four ways to prevent or reduce the
illegal file sharing problem on campus. One suggestion is to implement a
network technical solution. While these products have become more
sophisticated and powerful in recent years, we believe the term
"solution" overstates the capacities of current technologies. In some
cases, the technology may be too indiscriminate, blocking not only
illegitimate peer-to-peer file sharing but also the legitimate
peer-to-peer file sharing increasingly used in research and education
activities. In other cases, the cost may be prohibitive. Nonetheless,
because of the continued seriousness of the problem of illegal
peer-to-peer file sharing and the promise of emerging network
technologies, the Joint Committee has established a new technology
working group which is actively addressing this topic and expects to
issue a report to the higher education community within a few months.  

For a more extensive analysis of the legal aspects of campus
peer-to-peer file sharing, you might examine the November 2006 paper,
Background Discussion of Copyright Law and Potential Liability for
Students Engaged in P2P File Sharing on University Networks
f=0> . 

I underscore that illegal peer-to-peer file sharing remains a serious
issue that all campuses must continue to address. My Washington
colleagues and I appreciate the efforts you have already made in this
area and encourage your ongoing attention to this matter.  

David Ward,
President of ACE

****For further information and complete updates, please visit ACE's web
site at http://www.acenet.edu/
f=0> .


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