The following is a letter from Eric Rehm Graduate Research Assistant at UW’s Applied Physics Lab to Eric Godfrey vice provost for student life. Rehm does a great job pointing out alternative actions UW could be taking to stand up for students rights or work with students to find solutions instead of allowing the RIAA to threaten students.
Instead of indirectly threatening students, why not take some action? For
1. Fight the RIAA, as does the University of Wisconsin.
University of Wisconsin refuses to forward the RIAA letters you are so ready
to forward because they “short circuit the legal process to rely on
universities to be their legal agent”, according to Brian Rust of UW’s IT
2. Bill the RIAA for these letters, as does the University of Nebraska.
In addition to not forwarding the letters, UN demands reimbursement of $11
it costs Nebraska taxpayers to process each RIAA letter.
3. Tell the RIAA to “take a hike”, as recommended by the Harvard Law School.
I cannot say it better than the authors of the Harvard Law School article
“If the RIAA wants to stimulate conversation, then it should engage in
genuine dialogue. Come join us on campus. Come talk to the digital natives
who are our students, to the faculty who care about fair intellectual
property protections, and to the university counsel and technical teams who
manage our strategies and operations in cyberspace. The RIAA should be
asking, along with the rest of us, if we can come up with models that reward
artists for their work while allowing the maximum circulation and use of
their creations, as our Founding Fathers intended.”
Before returning to the U.W. School of Oceanography in 2004 for graduate
studies, I was co-founder and CTO of Singingfish.com, an Internet startup
that indexed the Web (like Google) for links to audio and video files. In
addition to addressing various URL linking challenges (ultimately protected
by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), I regularly encountered
technologists of the RIAA and IFPI (representing the recording industry
worldwide) at MPEG conferences where we battled over standards for metadata and
digital rights management.
I would be happy to discuss this further with you over some legal beer and
music. You may be surprised at the local expertise (and funds) that would
rise to the challenge of more creative action by U.W.
Graduate Research Asst.
Applied Physics Lab, Ocean Physics Dept.
University of Washington
(reprinted with permission)
If you want to let UW know what you think about the policy please write:
Eric S. Godfrey
vice provost for student life
Vice Provost, Student Life
476 Schmitz Hall
FAX: +1 206 543-2965