Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government News Your Rights Online

University Bows to RIAAs Demands for Student Names 271

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-will-always-be-stronger-than-us dept.
jcgam69 writes "Hours after a federal court judge ordered Oklahoma State University to show cause why it shouldn't be held in contempt for failing to respond to an RIAA subpoena, attorneys for the school e-mailed a list of students' names to the RIAA's attorneys. But now that the RIAA has what it wanted, the group is unsure about how to go about sending out its pre-litigation settlement letters. Some of the students are represented by an attorney, meaning that the RIAA is barred from contacting them directly."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

University Bows to RIAAs Demands for Student Names

Comments Filter:
  • The bully's fear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kshrop (1054972) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:01AM (#22418744)
    A person who isn't all alone and easy to scare. Whatever should they do if someone has a defense and won't give up thier lunch money so easily?
    • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:14AM (#22418836)
      That analogy works well with slashdot anti-RIAA sentiment, but it's not completely accurate.. the RIAA isn't just some big stupid bully, it has the full support of United States law. It sees a multibillion dollar cash cow and it's milking it- this is not the RIAA's fault, it's the government's for allowing it to happen.
      • by Grimbleton (1034446) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:28AM (#22418942)
        Who said he wasn't referring to the government?
      • and they are violating multiple laws [slashdot.org]. We shall see how this comes out for the 11 students, and society will make even better laws to stop this kind of harassment. The recording industry is simply wrong and people know it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Since the RIAA has begged to reduce the fees they pay to artists yet AGAIN, ANY standing they have as being the "protectors of artist's interests" has gone by the wayside!

      Artists and composers alike need to remember that the initials stand for the "RECORDING INDUSTRY of America," not the "Recording ARTISTS of America!"

      Ask any artist who has been bilked out of millions that were made on their FIRST recording... especially when their SECOND one didn't do so well... notice how well the RIAA "protects" those ar
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MikeyTheK (873329)
      To be fair, the University is "bowing down" to a threatened contempt citation by the court. Actually I believe the wording was that the court was asking the University to explain why it should NOT be found to be in contempt. To this point it looks like OSU was being protective of their students. The whole ex-parte discovery argument is one of those things that legal techies love to debate, but OSU was pretty much out of good options, it appears.
  • Good (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:01AM (#22418746)
    Sue the future consumers into oblivion.
    • by MadJo (674225)
      Indeed, in a few years time the US will have a generation of bankrupt twenty-to-thirty-somethings. And then we'll hear the media conglomerates complaining again and start suing the next generation.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:55AM (#22419224) Homepage
      That's precisely why things will be much more interesting over the next 15-20 years. What better way to enter a business relationship than to kick your client in the teeth.

      What I'm curious about, is how does an RIAA lawsuit affect a student's ability to pursue their education ? Is the cartel destroying someone's future career over a few hundred overplayed pop songs ? What does that say about the future of the nation ? We all agree that piracy is a crime, but does the punishment fit ?

      Corporate America's obsession with instant profits will inevitably have a deleterious effect on tomorrow's economy. It's bad enough that students get pelted with dozens of credit cards and start their life in the red, now we're trying to tack on another few thousand dollars in RIAA settlements. The people who actually wind up paying for this are you and me. We pay when professionals increase their hourly rates, when basic food staples jump in price, heck we're paying it right now with the time spent debating these vengeful issues. Inflation is not an ethereal process that happens on a spreadsheet. The more we screw each other over, the stronger the elastic bounce-back to recover what was ours.

      Greed begets greed.
      • by GuyverDH (232921)
        We all agree that piracy is a crime, but this isn't piracy.

        Piracy is taking something, making tons of copies, and selling them... black marketing, etc...

        People taking songs and sharing them, while violating copyright, isn't piracy.

        These are the same types of people, who in the 70s and 80s recorded their music off the radio onto cassette and dubbed them.

        If I recall correctly, Sony had one of the better portable dubbing boom-boxes, that led to mass audio cassette copying...
      • What I'm curious about, is how does an RIAA lawsuit affect a student's ability to pursue their education ? Is the cartel destroying someone's future career over a few hundred overplayed pop songs ? What does that say about the future of the nation ? We all agree that piracy is a crime, but does the punishment fit ?

        The least inconvenience is give up your life savings. That leaves students with two bad options, go into debt or quit school. Students who fight risk losses that would sap anyone's desire to

  • Hmm.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wellingtonsteve (892855) <wellingtonsteve@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:02AM (#22418756)
    every time we have a story like this it is assumed that the University should help protect students from the consequences of their (potentially) illegal actions.. err.. why?
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AvitarX (172628) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:09AM (#22418798) Journal
      I think it is more a matter that the University is entrusted with a lot of your personal data (all network traffic, your social security number etc.). The University should fight to not release that information unless they are compelled, otherwise they are not being a good custodian of your information.

      I would hate for a list of every dirty website I went to in open court only to be deemed innocent in the end.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        The University should fight to not release that information unless they are compelled

        I think the one thaing that would compel me would be a judge saying "do it or be cited for contempt". Like the Who song the RIAA label holds copyright to says, the RIAA has "a gun that fires cops".

        That said, the university should fire its legal team and hire a competent one. Its students should find a more reputable university. Columbia WAS reputable, but its reputation is now that of a coward.

        It seems since 9-11 cowardsce
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jank1887 (815982)
        "unless they are compelled," But they were compelled, by a legal subpoena, issued because of evidence of illegal activity taking place. So how is what the University did wrong? They held out as long as they legally could, but you can't expect the University to take a contempt charge over students' illegal activities.

        and unless you visiting all those dirty websites was somehow illegal, the university would be under no obligation to divulge any of that information. a legal subpoena would have to be base

        • by Tanktalus (794810)

          Y'know ... I'm not sure I would have waited until the threat of contempt arose. It'd give me a bit more leeway in my response.

          I'm thinking that the university should not have emailed the student records, but printed them. And all the IP logs. All of them. And sent that print-out via registered mail or courier or something (something that needs a signature). It'd weigh 40 or 50 pounds, I'm sure. Thousands of pages of paper. (Even better if you can get it all out via dot-matrix feed paper - one nice l

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nursie (632944)
      Well, the RIAA's actions are very borderline in terms of legality, and IMHO it would make a good law school project.

      Also, universities ought to be complying with the law and I was pretty sure that, in a couple of cases, it had been demonstrated that names did not have to be handed over by ISPs...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oneiros27 (46144)
      Because the judge forced them to. (that's what the issue of 'contempt' is -- being arrested for not following the judge's orders)

      However, if you read the article, you'd see that the RIAA still can't contact _any_ of the students, because they don't know which ones have an attorney, and they're not allowed to contact those who have an attorney. Not being an attorney, I don't know what use having the names actually does the RIAA in this state. (they could try dragging the names through the mud, but then th
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LifesABeach (234436)
        My view point is slightly rotated. I am currently evaluating colleges for my child. Granted, my child will be an adult while attending the college, but my child will remain my child. The RIAA's "Fisherman's Net" approach to looking for bad guys gayfully ignores that this event will never be forgotten in our Diamond Society. By sending my child to O.U., it basically transmits a message, never forgotten, that I thought it was acceptable to send my child to a college where understanding of such things as La
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      it is assumed that the University should help protect students from the consequences of their (potentially) illegal actions

      So according to you, Universities should hand over lists of their students to anyone on demand? How about banks - I'd like to know how much is in your account. If you have too much money then you must have earned it illegally. Hey maybe I should have a look at your medical records too while I'm at it. Our studies show a positive correlation between piracy and type
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bconway (63464) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:32AM (#22418980) Homepage
        So according to you, Universities should hand over lists of their students to anyone on demand?

        How about to court orders? Like, you know, in this case.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Arccot (1115809)

        it is assumed that the University should help protect students from the consequences of their (potentially) illegal actions

        So according to you, Universities should hand over lists of their students to anyone on demand? How about banks - I'd like to know how much is in your account. If you have too much money then you must have earned it illegally. Hey maybe I should have a look at your medical records too while I'm at it. Our studies show a positive correlation between piracy and type 2 diabetes...

        This is not "anyone on demand." To reverse your straw man, should businesses be allowed to break all the laws they want?

        There was a legal request for these names, under enforcement by the court, and the University was still refusing. The University should not break the law to protect the accused. If there was a legal request made for my bank account information or medical records, I would expect the bank or medical officials to release my information. Why should they break the law to protect me? Corpora

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by downix (84795)
      Nothing of the sort. Rather, the case is, should Universities be used as an internet police force for their own students or not. If the Universities did not fight such actions, then they could be held responsible for illegal internet activity that happened to occur under their watch. So, a hacker rootkits a students windows box to spread the Storm Virus, they'd be liable despite not owning the box, nor even having the person responsible being a student at their university (possibly not even being in the
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmnormand (941909)
      Because innocent until proven guilty is the foundation of the american justice system, and the universities are the back bone of that justice system (teaching future lawyers, judges, politicians, ect.). The universities, perhapse even more than the average american or coorporations, have an obligation to fight what it views as a potentially unjust action, until such time that they are conviced the action is warrented.
      • I'd say (well, hope) more that the law was the backbone of the justice system, and the universities are the womb
    • They shouldn't protect students from the consequences of their actions. They should insist on being compelled to turn over information as a general protection for all students, and they did. They resisted, the judge ordered them to comply.

      Due process isn't just a protection for the (potentially) guilty. It's also protection for the rest of us.
  • makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JasonEngel (757582) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:03AM (#22418764)
    I see no reason why universities should fight to protect the privacy of it's students in circumstances like this where a judge has pretty much given the approval for the plaintiffs actions. I would not want a uni to cave just because the MAFIAA contact them, but if a judge has reviewed their requests and then tells the uni to cough up the details, I tend to feel more comfortable with it.
    • Re:makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:27AM (#22418938) Journal
      I have to agree... The universities should be acting as common carriers, no matter how involved they are in the lives of the students. The school's infrastructure should be seen as no different under the law than and ISP's infrastructure. With judicial review of the legal actions, it is as fair as it will ever get under the current system. I feel confident that there is a way to structure their Internet services so as to qualify as common carrier-ish.

      I hope that the student's lawyer is better than good.

      That said, there is little outside the Terms of Service an ISP can do to stop each individual from acting as a common carrier. If you open your WiFi for all to use, current trends are to hold you responsible for how the Internet is used. Emphasis is put on filtering/regulation rather than individual's use of the services.

      I was going to think of a car analogy, but water is a better likeness here. If you get your water from the city, and let your neighbors use it, are you responsible for them watering their lawns outside of prescribed watering hours? The basic legal interpretation of what Internet access is, is being treated the wrong way, or thought of in the wrong way.

      Access to weapons does not make you a killer. Access to P2P sites does not make you a copyright thief. Selling guns that get used in bank robberies or murders don't make the manufacturer guilty of said crimes.

      If all students were on WiFi connections, each infringement issue would involve possibly hundreds of students. While that sounds like I'm supporting wild flouting of the law, it's not. I simply do not support the way the law has been used to harass and bludgeon citizens for nothing more substantial than supporting the failed and woefully unrepentant business model of greedy bastards who mistreat customers and clients alike.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      In cases where a plaintiff is suing a "John Doe" identified by IP address and time, then I agree that the university needs to provide that identification ... if it is reliable (and I believe in a great many schools it is not reliable because IP and MAC spoofing is easy if the school uses typical LAN equipment). However, the RIAA tactic has been to merely contact students with these settlement letters demanding amounts of money the students cannot afford, and refusing to discuss issues like mis-identificati

  • by Cougem (734635) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:06AM (#22418782)
    Interestingly, this is the same attorney who back in 2006 won a case for Debbie Foster vs. the RIAA. A good choice.
  • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:09AM (#22418794) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand why universities dont just 'loose' these records. Is there a legal reason why records of student's online activity must be recorded? My university had a massive drive where all students could temporarily store their data. the drives were wiped clean every Friday. why not just wipe the students internet usage records every week or so?
    I can't see what use that information is to the University, aside from handing it over to RIAA lawyers to screw over the very students who pay to go to that university.

    you can't hand over evidence you don't have.
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      you can't hand over evidence you don't have.

      Tell that to whichever torrent tracking website was (within the past few months) told that although they didn't store visitor logs on disk then they were still in memory at some point and so they had to hand over lists of IPs of visitors.

      You'd think it was that simple, but the law tends not to allow it as it means anyone could 'play innocent' by having a 'routine' of wiping details every X days, even if they're doing it purely to cover illegal activity.

      • by badfish99 (826052) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:48AM (#22419144)
        It was TorrentSpy. The judge told them that they had to start keeping logs, so they did do. But they couldn't be prosecuted for not keeping logs before they were told to do so.

        So, if the university had a policy of not keeping logs, their students would be safe up to the point when the RIAA got a court order to force them to start logging. Then the university could simply say to their students "we have been forced to start logging: stop your filesharing now, because the RIAA are watching".

        The reason that universities don't do this is that they want logs for their own purposes, for example to track down infected machines, or people posting rude messages about the vice-chancellor.
        • by IBBoard (1128019)
          But there was a degree of "you don't have the data isn't a defence - it is in there so just record it".

          If a University has always been keeping logs but then suspects they might be in the next batch of RIAA hits then I suspect there would be major questions if they started wiping log files regularly now. Even if it wasn't directly admissible as evidence, the RIAA would bring it up as something that supported their case (only to be struck from the record, but still left in the human conscious as it isn't as e
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      I don't understand why universities dont just 'loose' these records

      Why don't you let your social security number loose?

      -mcgrew [slashdot.org]

      modded -1, pedant
    • Isn't this obvious?
      Apparently, universities, ISPs, and whoever else *must* store all the communications so the state can check for all these eeeeeeevil terrorists...
      And if a university refuses to do so, well, obviously they'd be searched by the army, er, police. Full body armor, drawn weapons, seizure of all electronic equipment.

      No. I'm not joking. Unfortunately.
    • by gsslay (807818)

      why not just wipe the students internet usage records every week or so?

      Because the university keeps the logs for its own reasons and its own legal protection. It may come as a surprise to you, but the university network policies tend not to be driven by the need to ensure student anonymity while file-sharing music. They are used for other, academic, uses.

      I don't understand why universities dont just 'loose' these records.

      I heard of a place that did this once. The records were running wild all over the hallways for days before they managed to round them all up again.

  • They might have mailed a list of names, but the important thing here is, are they the right names and were these the people actually sitting at the terminals requested at the time?

  • by IceRa (844639) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:11AM (#22418814) Homepage
    ...would be a headline which boils it down correct.
    Wheter the judges order was ok in the first place is a diffrent story.
  • IT'S A TRAP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:19AM (#22418878) Homepage
    Funny how the RIAA got what it wanted, only to them find themselves facing something they did not expect, a prepared defense with direct experience against their tactics. One could almost say that they've fallen into a classic military maneuver, put a small token defense up first to bring the enemys offense to the front, to have it fall back, leading the enemy onto terrain of ones choosing, where you then spring the trap. Classic Sun Tzu.

    I see Xerxes vs 300 Spartans in a legal sense here, so long as the defense does not leave the goat path to open up their backs they will do well.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Ha! You fell for it! Now give me all your mod points or this kitten gets huffed! [uncyclopedia.org]

      You know I'll do it, too.

      -mcgrew
      • by Bucc5062 (856482)
        I went to that link, damn you. I never knew, all this time I thought I was alone in my addiction. All the kittens, oh the horror...

        (and that was just plain strange in a mind bending way)
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:25AM (#22418914) Homepage Journal
    Surely there are large numbers of DoD employees and Federal employees generally who are illegally sharing too. The Federal government's networks are famous for a lack of policing. It will be interesting to see what happens when the RIAA goes after millions of attorneys who are paid to be a lot more ruthless than the RIAA.
  • by RockedMan40 (1130729) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:06AM (#22419346) Journal
    And no - this is not a cheap attempt at starting a flame war. I really do think the treatment of *most* individuals by the *IAA is pretty shabby, and in some case questionably legal. *IAA just has the financial backing to try, and the publicity mostly helps them, does not hurt them in a meaningful way. Since they *want* to be perceived as relatively evil group that you as the 'average joe/jane' are powerless against.

    Now - the opinion part. I do hope they persist in this tactic. I recently have been turning to indie music in various forms and ya know what - found some *really* good material! Stuff I am happy to throw out a few $ to the artist, especially if they are getting a large cut of the money. And when I say really good - I mean excellent. Outstanding. Prime stuff. I haven't turned on my radio in vehicle or home since I started.

    So - RIAA - keep it up. Indie music is my new crack - and their tactics are only ensuring a greater supply chain to me!
  • But now that the RIAA has what it wanted, the group is unsure about how to go about sending out its pre-litigation settlement letters. Some of the students are represented by an attorney, meaning that the RIAA is barred from contacting them directly.
    They can send the letter to the lawyer or they can serve the student with a lawsuit.

    Simple.
  • Alma Mater (Score:3, Funny)

    by halber_mensch (851834) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:21AM (#22419532)

    D'oh!

    Cowed to court order, We'll curse your name;
    Oklahoma State, We hold you to blame.
    RIAA will find us-and we'll be sued.
    Thanks to our Alma Mater, O...S...U.

  • More bricks to anonymity? http://www.it.okstate.edu/students/restech/ [okstate.edu] or plugin several open wireless connections per building?
  • A lot of people are defending the actions described. But nothing good can come of this, regardless of how legal it is.
  • This is the RIAA getting what it deserves for joining all those unrelated defendants together in the first place. If the RIAA had done the right thing and filed each suit individually (as at least one Federal judge has ordered them to do, and others have severed unrelated Doe defendants), they would know who had opposed them with attorneys in which suit, and who hadn't.

    Have hopefully shot themselves in the foot this time, they'll get no further in this suit. Especially given the judge's outrageous behav

  • by Captain_Chaos (103843) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @12:05PM (#22421938)
    Can somebody explain to me how this is possible in the US legal system? How can a university be obligated to provide information like this when it has nothing to do with the case, which is purely between the record company and the student? I can understand how a cowardly university board might cave to pressure, but this seems to be a judge ordering them to provide the information, without any evidence against the students other than a list of IP addresses, which is no evidence at all.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.

Working...