Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brooklyn Law School investigating its students for MPAA

We have been advised that Brooklyn Law School students have received the following email from Brooklyn Law School:

From: Phil Allred
Date: October 28, 2009 11:49:41 AM EDT
To: All Users
Subject: [BLS] Illegal downloading

This semester we have received several warnings from our Internet service provider that copyrighted movies and TV shows are being downloaded illegally via our wireless network. The Information Technology office is now ascertaining who is doing this. Once we have names of the individuals involved, we intend to give them to the copyright holders for enforcement purposes.

We remind everyone that copyright abuse is illegal and that use of the Internet while at Brooklyn Law School must be in accordance with our published Terms of Service document located at

Phil Allred
Brooklyn Law School

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


quietlyconfident said...

One would think that this contravenes the BLS terms of service & Privacy Policy: (emphasis mine)

Privacy Notice
Brooklyn Law School takes privacy seriously. In general, we will not disclose or sell your data to third parties, except as required by law or judicial action, or as explicitly given permission by you. Brooklyn Law School is a not-for-profit educational institution; therefore, the disclosure of most of your data is governed by Federal Law.


Data sharing: Brooklyn Law School does not share log data (i.e. which services you have accessed) with third parties.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely ridiculous that a law school would sell out its students like this.

raybeckerman said...

Seems rather odd.

DreadWingKnight said...

Kind of odd that a law school would violate their own terms of service contract like that (at least that's what I see from here).

Anonymous said...

It's also a good way for a school to lose students. Most educational institutions consider situations like this "learning opportunities", not "let's throw our students to the MPAA's mercy opportunities".

You can imagine how many top quality students won't apply there in the future, because they know the university doesn't have their back, at all. That's something the university heads should intervene on. And if press coverage is large enough, I speculate they will.


Anonymous said...

>>The Information Technology office is now ascertaining who is doing this. Once we have names of the individuals involved...

Uhmmm, and just how do they plan on identifying the "individuals" involved??


derivative said...

Speaking of "learning opportunities", I could be wrong, but I suspect that if somebody in charge of the law school realized that their "CIO" was threatening students, violating the TOS, and otherwise being a jackass, probably all over the desire to save a couple of thousand dollars a month in bandwidth costs, said "CIO" might be receiving his own "learning opportunity."

Any high powered lawyers know anybody in charge there?

Anonymous said...

Look at Stanford.

derivative said...

If you read between the lines on the Stanford one, they are going after "uploaders", not "downloaders."

The Brooklyn thing might be the same, but there aren't that many lines to read between and the article explicitly states "download" so who knows?

It's bad either way, but it's much worse if they really are going after downloaders. You shouldn't be able to get into trouble for watching something that someone else really shouldn't have uploaded to youtube.

Matt Fitzpatrick said...

Someone should make sure Mr. Allred is aware that the "... of America" part of "MPAA" does not mean the MPAA is a government law enforcement agency.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

If I weren't too lazy, I'd write him a sincere thank-you e-mail. Choosing the right university is hard, and he's made the decision just a little bit easier.

quietlyconfident said...

This morning, BLS backed off and changed their policy back to a more sane position:

From: Announcements On Behalf Of Phil Allred
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:08 PM
To: All Users
Subject: [BLS] Update on illegal downloads e-mail notice

Yesterday, I sent out an e-mail regarding the recent spate of abuse notices we have received from our Internet service provider. Under our contract, users are prohibited from downloading copyrighted works. If we knowingly allow such activity to continue without taking action, we risk losing access to the Internet. When we can ascertain the people who are responsible for alleged illegal downloads, we will notify them to cease such activity. We will comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( ). Outside of the legal process, we are not obligated to turn over the names of the alleged infringers to copyright holders and will not do so.

Anonymous said...

Well, what do you expect from a TTT law school?

DreadWingKnight said...

Ultimately though, because the MPAA is an organization of private companies and not a division of a law enforcement agency, if there's no court order in place, this CIO is violating the TOS as well by providing the information.

Doesn't exactly give him a lot of high ground to fight on