Sunday, March 30, 2008

A 'Peer to Peer' Legal Aid Clinic

Speaking as we have been of legal aid (see generally here; here), I share this good deed the kids over at USF School of Law have been up to.

According to the linked article, the record industry has been sending letters to college students they believe may have shared music online. The letters threaten civil and criminal litigation unless the students settle within twenty days for sums ranging from three to six thousand dollars. Apparently many students, scared by the threatening tone of the letters, simply pay up without negotiating or exploring their options, or even determining whether they are actually liable. I find that frustrating, but not very surprising.

What IS surprising, frustrating, and also disappointing, is that the respective universities (Stanford, San Jose State University, Santa Clara University and University of California-Santa Cruz) have been providing students' names and personal contact information (un-subpoenaed) at record industry request.

That's just lame. Make 'em work for it, for chrissakes! Student privacy and freedom from trolling and harassment (which is not a completely unreasonable way to construe the letters) is valuable and worth protecting -- just ask Dean O!

Anyway, USF Law: kudos for taking care of your peers. I like it.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be one of the coolest things I've seen yet. I'm jealous I can't do this- a clinic that actually speaks to intellectual property people, and makes the RIAA work a little harder, rather than just trying to make money through harassment. Wow.

3/30/2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recommend those among us who are in trouble with this check out http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/. Quite a few defense tactics have been successful in every stage of RIAA lawsuits, from opposing the ex parte subpoena (if your ISP/school gives you notice early enough) to challenging the RIAA's argument that 'making [songs] available' for download is the same as violating their distribution right (as the EFF is recently doing).

Regardless, plenty of Boalties have experience in this field. I know of a few kids in BTLJ who know quite a bit about it, and would be glad to give you the latest updates if you ask.

3/30/2008 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"clinic that actually speaks to intellectual property people" - how about the samuelson clinic? Much more interesting and important work than routine RIAA settlement.

3/30/2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by, Professor Mulligan!

3/30/2008 10:59 PM  

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