Several US colleges are laying down some entertainment law as part of freshmen orientation this summer: If the recording industry catches you sharing copyrighted music files, they say, we won’t protect you.
As the recording industry deepens its crackdown on Internet music piracy, administrators at several major universities said they are now spending an unprecedented amount of orientation time educating students about copyright infringement and fielding questions from an increasing number of parents who are concerned about file-sharing. And their message to students and parents is stark.
While most universities have traditionally devoted significant time to questions about computer networking, a barrage of subpoenas issued this month by the Recording Industry Association of America has focused the attention of many administrators on the problems specifically associated with file-swapping programs such as KaZaA, Grokster, and Morpheus. The industry association sent over 900 subpoenas this summer to colleges and Internet service providers, including Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., demanding the names and addresses of computer users it suspects of sharing copyrighted music.
Copyright violation, the colleges say, is serious business: Under federal law, the industry could seek penalties of $750 to $150,000 for each illegally shared song.