Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stanford's Content Pirating Policy

Stanford to hit P2P users in the wallet with reconnection fees

By Eric Bangeman Published: May 16, 2007 - 11:41PM CT

Reactions of universities named in the
RIAA and MPAA's top 25 list of pirate schools have run the gamut from embarrassed to seemingly indifferent. Color Stanford red-faced, as a copy of the school's revised DMCA Complaint Policy received by file-sharing litigation attorney Ray Beckerman demonstrates.

Citing the costs involved with keeping up with the number of file-sharing complaints received by the school, Stanford will continue to disconnect students from the campus network upon the receipt of "DMCA complaints" and other notices such as the infamous prelitigation settlement letters from the RIAA but will now charge students a hefty fee to be reconnected. Stanford administration says that it takes almost three full-time employees to stay on top of the number of complaints. Stanford is justifying the reconnection fees by calling the money spent on copyright-enforcement-related activities "an irresponsible waste of Stanford's resources."
Upon the receipt of the first DMCA complaint, the school's Information Security Office (ISO) will forward a copy to the student along with a message directing him or her to remove the infringing content. If the student fails respond to the ISO and does not remove the infringing material within 48 hours, he or she will be disconnected from the school network and assessed a $100 reconnection charge. Students can provide a counter-notice to the ISO if they believe they received the complaint in error.

Further offenses will result in immediate disconnection from the network. Two-time offenders will have to pay a $500 reconnection fee, while three-time losers will have their network privileges terminated. In order for a three-time offender to regain access, he or she will need to indemnify the university against any further copyright violations and pay a $1,000 fee for a new account on the school network. The offending student will also be referred to Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action.

Stanford's new policy is perhaps the harshest to be enacted by a US college or university in the wake of the MPAA and RIAA publicizing their top 25 lists. Ohio University responded to being fingered as a top pirate school by banning P2P traffic; other schools have decided to take a wait-and-see attitude. Others, like the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are requiring the RIAA to follow the letter of the law, refusing to forward settlement letters or turn over student information unless served with a valid subpoena.