Universities Realize That The RIAA Is Taking Advantage Of Them In Lawsuits On Students
from the pushback-time dept
We never quite understood why various universities were cooperating with RIAA demands that they send “pre-litigation” letters to students accused of file sharing. These non-binding letters are often used to pressure students into paying fines, even if they’re based on weak (at best) evidence of file sharing. It certainly wasn’t in any university’s best interests to basically help out a private organization in a business model dispute with its students. Yet, some university officials, falsely convinced by the RIAA that this was more than a business model dispute, decided to help out. And the response? The RIAA has increased the flood of notices, and then convinced Congress to move forward on legislation that would legally obligate universities to act as the RIAA’s copyright cops.
It appears that more and more universities are realizing that they got shafted. The EFF points out that there’s widespread anger among university officials who felt they were trying to find a middle ground by cooperating, but instead find themselves swamped with more and more notifications and this new legislation that increases their legal liability over a business model dispute. And, the worst part? Now that they’re pushing back in court, the RIAA points out that dealing with these notices before wasn’t a burden, so universities aren’t being truthful that they’re now a burden. How’s that for a thank you for helping out originally?
If it hasn’t become clear by now, the RIAA doesn’t view universities as partners in all of this — and any university that thinks of the RIAA as a partner is about to get steamrolled by the RIAA legal machine. It’s time that more universities stood up not just for their own rights, but the rights of their students as well not to be targeted by questionable “pre-litigation” threat letters without more significant evidence. And, it wouldn’t help for the RIAA to finally recognize that this entire battle has done nothing to deal with the real issue: its own inability to recognize that its business model needs to change.