Posted on November 5, 2007 in RIAA, UW by Brian RoweComments Off

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.

Mr. Godfrey,

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
mentioned above:

“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, 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.


Eric Rehm
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
(206) 543-0128;
Box 355831
Vice Provost, Student Life
476 Schmitz Hall
FAX: +1 206 543-2965
[email protected]

Related Stories
University of Washington as RIAA lackey part 2
University of Washington acting as RIAA crony

Posted on June 27, 2007 in Adam Moore, Informatics, IP, Ischool, RIAA, UW by Brian RoweComments Off

I must apologize for the vagueness of my last post. Now that I have calmed down, I can make a reasonable post on why I am so angry with the University of Washington’s new policy.

To clarify, this Monday UW sent an email to all student notifying them that UW was cooperating with the RIAA by distributing prelawsuit letters to student who have IP addresses that the RIAA claimed are file sharing copyrighted martial. (at this time I am looking for an official copy of the email, if you still have it please forwarded it to me)

My objections to this practice are twofold; first UW is enabling the RIAA to prey on the student they should be protecting.

The RIAA has set settlement amounts at a level where seeking legal advice is more expensive then just paying the settlement.
The RIAA is missing using a law designed to stop mass market commercial infringement against student who are not profiting.
The RIAA is intimidating students to the point of suggesting that some student should give up college saving and drop out of school to pay the settlements.

Second everything I learned thought the Ischool’s Informatics program is in direct conflict with helping the RIAA lock away information.

I was first introduced to John Perry Barlow’s article, A framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age. (Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong.) Adam Moore’s. introduction to Informatics 300. This same class covered “Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach,”(warning pdf version)
by Tom G. Palmer. The Ischool focused on the changes in the information landscape and equipping student to understand shape the future. Finlay my capstone project from 2 years ago identified areas of conflict between Human Rights and Intellectual property including distribution of nonrivalrous goods to people regardless of economic standing.

Now that these conflicts are becoming realities in our society it appears the University of Washington is choosing to entrench antiquated economic models of the past instead of becoming a leader in creating real solution to help all access knowledge.

I have a hard time reconciling the academic teaching for the University of Washington, especially the Ischool, with this new policy.

PS More on this next week including the Ischool’s vision and some responses from UW’s administration.

Posted on June 26, 2007 in IP, RIAA, UW by Brian RoweComments Off

This week Eric Godfrey, vice provost for student life at the UW Seattle campus, informed students of the policy Monday through a campuswide e-mail. It said some students have letters on the way, but he was unable in a later phone interview to say how many.

The university will not pass the students’ names to the association, but it will use its server to identify them and inform them of their settlement options…. read more at The news tribune

As an alumni of the Ischool.
As an alumni of University of Washington I aM


If you are outraged also please contact:

Eric S. Godfrey
vice provost for student life

(206) 543-0128;
Box 355831
Vice Provost, Student Life
476 Schmitz Hall
FAX: +1 206 543-2965
[email protected]

PS I will write more on this when I have calmed down!