In a new article, Professors Nesson and Palfrey, of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, had this to say:
Universities to RIAA: Take a Hike
by Charles Nesson & John Palfrey
Recently, the president of the Recording Industry Association of America, Cary Sherman, wrote to Harvard to challenge the university administration to stop acting as a "passive conduit" for students downloading music. We agree. Harvard and the 22 universities to which the RIAA has sent "pre-litigation notices" ought to take strong, direct action...and tell the RIAA to take a hike.
This Spring, 1,200 pre-litigation letters arrived unannounced at universities across the country. The RIAA promises more will follow. These letters tell the university which students the RIAA plans on suing, identifying the students only by their IP addresses, the "license plates" of Internet connections. Because the RIAA does not know the names behind the IP addresses, the letters ask the universities to deliver the notices to the proper students, rather than relying upon the ordinary legal mechanisms.
Universities should have no part in this extraordinary process. The RIAA's charter is to promote the financial interests of its corporate members – even if that means preserving an obsolete business model for its members. The university's charter is quite different. Harvard's charter reflects the purposes for which it was founded in 1636: "The advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences; the advancement and education of youth in all manner of good literature, arts, and sciences; and all other necessary provisions that may conduce to the education of the ... youth of this country...."
Complete Article (Under "(1)Features")
Editor's note: We would like to take a moment to thank Volker Briegleb of the first-rate German-language web site Heise Online, for bringing this item to our attention. Heise Online's coverage of the article is here. Recording Industry vs. The People is fortunate to have such friends.
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