President's Warning About Potential Liability for Copyright Infringement
We thought the following broadcast information relative to copyright infringement would be beneficial to all. The message originated from the University of Memphis.
SUBJECT: Potential Liability for Copyright Infringement
We wish to alert you to a potential source of legal liability you might personally assume, depending on how you use the University's network.
A federal court in Washington, D.C. recently ruled that Verizon Internet Services must provide the identity of one of their customers to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The individual allegedly used Internet access provided by Verizon to download several hundred songs through the use of the peer to peer file sharing service, KaZaA. The RIAA sought the individual's identity under a subpoena, claiming that the individual was infringing the copyrights of the various recording companies, songwriters, performers, etc.
The University provides Internet access to its students, faculty, staff and affiliated guests, analogously to Verizon. If the federal courts in our own district make a similar ruling, then when served with such a subpoena, the University will be required to provide the identities of individuals who download/upload copyrighted materials through the use of peer to peer file sharing services, etc. on the University's network. Songs, videos and movies are almost always copyrighted; therefore, downloading/uploading these materials through the use of peer to peer file sharing can result in personal liability for copyright infringement.
All Internet users should think carefully about the legal risks involved in the use of peer to peer file sharing services to obtain copyrighted materials. Remember, copyright infringement is ILLEGAL and can result in serious civil and criminal penalties.
Dr. Robert R. Bell, President
Tennessee Technological University
P. O. Box 5007
Cookeville, TN 38505
January 30, 2003