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Penn State warns students that P2P trading can be a federal felony

[Wonder what kind of discussions the RIAA has had with the vice provost? 


From: "Justin Leto" <jleto@psu.edu>
To: <declan@well.com>
Subject: FW: An Important Message on a Key Issue from the Provost
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 21:05:16 -0500


I just received this email from the Vice Provost at Penn State. It seems
they are stepping up the anti-P2P campaign with threats of fines and
imprisonment. This has a hostile and foreboding tone...perhaps a
foreshadowing of what's to come.

Penn State

-----Original Message-----
From: Office of the Provost [mailto:L-PROVOST-ANNOUNCE3@LISTS.PSU.EDU]
On Behalf Of Rodney A. Erickson
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2003 4:55 PM
Subject: An Important Message on a Key Issue from the Provost

I have a serious message for you about making illegal copies of
copyrighted material.  While you may be tempted not to read this email,
I suggest that you do so in order to better understand just what the
risks and penalties are for violating the law.

In recent years, high-speed computer networks and personal computers
have made it easy to copy computer programs, movies, and recordings.
Most of this material is copyrighted, which means the right to make
copies is restricted.  Making copies of any copyrighted material without
the right to do so is against both state and federal law and University
policy.  Most people who make illegal copies know it is wrong, but are
unaware of how severe the penalties can be.

The US Copyright Law (Title 17 of the US Code) has very serious
penalties for violations. These include significant fines for each copy.
If you copy more than $1,000 worth of material, there are criminal
penalties that include substantial fines of up to $250,000 and up to 10
years prison time for flagrant cases of infringement.

The software, record, and movie industries are stepping up their
enforcement of copyright laws.  They are using computer technology to
detect those who run servers or simply download something they have no
right to possess.  The likelihood of being caught is growing every day,
and prosecutions will become more frequent.

You may have downloaded copyrighted materials and not been caught, so
you think you're safe from prosecution.  I urge you to think again. Two
students in Oregon were caught and prosecuted under the criminal
statutes. One received a suspended two-year sentence, the other spent
time in jail. A student in North Carolina spent 41 months in prison for
copyright infringement.  Messing up your future is a steep price to pay
for music or a video.

What happens at Penn State if you are caught?  By statute, the
University must immediately block your network access when we receive
notification that a particular computer has been involved in a violation
of the law.  You may also be taken to court by the copyright holder or
charged in the federal courts with a crime.  That is not all that can
happen.  You should know that falsely certifying either that you have
the right to material or have removed it can result in federal perjury
charges as well as copyright infringement.

What else does Penn State do?  When we receive a complaint, student
offenders are referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs and employees
to the Office of Human Resources.  Why?  Because it is illegal and
against University policy to infringe on someone's copyright.  A student
can be expelled and an employee terminated under University policy.

The bottom line is that there is a potentially high price to pay for an
illegally copied computer program, movie, or  recording.  Stealing is
stealing and against the law, regardless of how you try to justify it.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Rodney A. Erickson
March 31, 2003

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