Letter to UWM Students re: RIAA subpoenas

Dear Students,

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has stepped up their pursuit of students who they believe have illegally shared digital copyrighted materials. In early May, they served a valid subpoena on the UW System seeking names and other information for 53 students alleged to have engaged in copyright violations, including 16 from UWM.

UWM is obligated to comply with the RIAA’s subpoena for the names and other information of the students associated with the IP addresses from which alleged violations have occurred. Consistent with federal law that protects the privacy of student information, UWM and the other UW System institutions responding to the subpoena will notify the students whose information is being subpoenaed prior to release of their information to the RIAA.

In late March, we provided to you information about the RIAA’s actions in pursuing copyright infringements. Our objective was to inform you of our procedures when contacted by the RIAA for alleged copyright infringement and to provide you with information about what constitutes a violation of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and tips on how to avoid copyright violations.

Copyright infringement has serious consequences. The minimum damages under the U.S. Copyright Act are $750 for each instance of copyright violation. Even at the minimum penalty, damages can be substantial; 100 songs could result in a $75,000 fine. The maximum damages sought could be much more. In addition, there could be substantial legal fees.

All students are expected to comply with copyright law. Illegal file sharing is against the law and also violates UWM’s Acceptable Use Policy (https://www3.uwm.edu/IMT/campus/ policies/computing_policy.cfm). Violations can also result in the loss of UWM network access.

Protect yourself from substantial financial liability and the loss of UWM network privileges. Additional information can be found on the UWM information security Web site at uwm.edu/itsecurity and on the Sandburg Halls Computer Operations Web site at http://www.aux.uwm.edu/compop/p2p.php.

If you have any questions, please contact Bruce Maas, Interim CIO, at 414-229-2834 or bmaas@uwm.edu

Thank you,

Helen Mamarchev
Vice Chancellor
Student Affairs

Bruce Maas,
Interim CIO
Information & Media Technologies