ISU Headlines

ASISU launches campaign to educate students about illegal downloads

Posted October 20, 2008

The Associated Students of Idaho State University Student Government and ISU administrators are teaming up to educate University students, faculty and staff about the perils and consequences of illegally downloading music and other media files from the Internet.

At the same time, computer users will learn where to legally download music and other media files, either for free or for a fee.

“We want to better inform students and other users on the ISU computer network on how and where to legally download files and learn about copyright laws that apply to digital files,” said Carissa Butticci, ASISU vice president. “In the long run, it can be a lot cheaper to pay a small fee to download files legally, and there are free sites where music files can be legally downloaded. At some other universities students downloading files illegally have had to settle legal actions against them for thousands of dollars.”

The campaign to educate users on legal downloads and digital copyright law has several components:

• ASISU student government representatives will be holding information sessions in the Rendezvous Complex from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 20-24.

• Posters educating users about legal downloading and the potential penalties for downloading illegally will be displayed at computer laboratories around campus, as well as at other prominent locations.

• Postcards about legal/illegal downloading will be distributed in computer labs and at other locations on campus.

• ISU students, faculty and staff will be notified through other means, including electronic bulletin boards and other discussions.

As part of its efforts to provide free music to ISU students, Idaho State University joined the Ruckus Network, Inc., in 2006. Ruckus  is the provider of a multimedia network that supplies free and legal music downloads specifically for college students. For more information about Ruckus, visit www.RuckusNetwork.com or www.Ruckus.com.

ISU’s current Student Code of Conduct, as well as ISU’s Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy (http://www.isu.edu/fs-handbook/part3/3_8/3_8c.html) prohibit illegal file sharing and copyright infringement.

A guide on legal digital downloading is available at www.riaa.com. This site, in its “Tools for Parents and Educators” section, lists many of the more popular legal music downloading sites.

A Governor’s “Executive Order” also addresses illegally using state resources, such as a university owned computer or network, for such activity. This order can be viewed at http://gov.idaho.gov/mediacenter/execorders/eo05/eo_2005-22.htm.

In recent weeks Idaho State University has received letters from the Recording Industry Association of America that are specific complaints against users, both students and staff members, who the RIAA alleges have downloaded music illegally. The ISU users have been identified by the RIAA through their network addresses on the ISU computer network, according to Randy Gaines, chief information officer for ISU Information Technology Services.

Gaines emphasized that ISU does not monitor its networks for content and did not generate the complaints issued by the RIAA. Content owners or their agents use technologies that do not involve the University’s network in detecting and/or alleging violations of their copyright.

ISU has received two types of letters from the RIAA.  The first type is a “cease and desist” letter alleging that illegally downloading has been identified and asks the user to stop the practice; the second type is notification of potential subpoenas and a request of ISU to forward settlement letters to those accused.