As part of its campaign to deter online music theft, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is again targeting college and university campuses, where the incidence of illegal distribution of copyrighted music is high.
The RIAA recently announced that its member companies had filed copyright infringement suits against 754 individual file-sharers, many of whom are university students. The "John Doe" lawsuits were filed in federal district courts in several states, including Missouri. A UMR student could be among those included in the "John Doe" litigation.
According to Randy Tucker, UMR’s chief information officer, UMR students are not immune from the RIAA’s campaign. UMR receives approximately 100 notifications a year that individuals using the campus network are in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Tucker says. The DCMA is designed to protect musicians and other artists from the theft of their copyrighted material via the Internet.
The DMCA notifications are not lawsuits, but warnings that individuals are violating the DMCA. The university then requires the individuals to remove the offending material from the campus network and cuts off access to the network until the individual is in compliance with the law.
Recent campuses named in RIAA lawsuits include some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities, including American University, Boston College, Columbia University, Iowa State University, Mount Holyoke College, Old Dominion University and the University of Pennsylvania. UMR may join that list if any student is caught illegally distributing or duplicating copyrighted music, Tucker says.
"UMR is obligated to pursue claims of copyright infringement," Tucker says, "and fines for violating the DCMA range from $200 to a maximum of $150,000 per violation."
In addition, students, faculty or staff found to be in violation of copyright laws will be referred to the Division of Student Affairs or human resource services (faculty/staff) for disciplinary action.
Other organizations, such as the Motion Picture Association of America, are also aggressively pursuing DMCA violators, as the illegal copying and distribution of movies and other video materials is a growing cause for concern, Tucker says.
Tucker recommends that all UMR students, faculty and staff be aware of the campus’ "acceptable use guidelines" for computing. This information is available online at http://it.mst.edu/policy/acceptable_usage/general.html