posted Sep 08, 2000

Metallica's Lawyer Asks 11 Major Institutions to Ban Napster Music & MP39/8/2000; 2:32:07 PM 'The lawyer for the rock band Metallica and the rap artist Dr. Dre has sent letters to 11 prominent universities asking the institutions to restrict students' access to Napster, the popular MP3 file-sharing service. Letters went out Wednesday night to Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford Universities, and the University of Virginia. The lawyer, Howard E. King, said he was sending letters Thursday to Boston University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles.' ...'The courts have yet to make clear whether a university can be successfully sued for not preventing specific online behaviors by students for whom the university provides network access. Some observers say no one would think of suing a telephone company because its customers use Napster in ways that violate copyright law. 'At the same time, however, university administrators do not appear eager to devote time and money to fighting legal battles that are largely unrelated to their educational missions -- especially not battles that would put them in the awkward position of defending students who were violating musicians' intellectual-property rights.'I think this likely, they admins from at least one of these universities will fold now, in order to "save themselves the hassle".It's not just cowardly (although courage doesn't pay the lawyers, unfortunately), it's false economy.It is most assuredly not worth fighting for the university network user's "rights" to use Napster, from the University's point of view. It is worth the fight to not be considered responsible for the use of the network by those students. You may save money not fighting today, but you will face more of these requests over the next few years, quite probably enough to make up for the money you would have spent defending yourselves, if these universities would just ban together and fight the responsibility. This is a major trap for these universities.As the Universities themselves would remind you under other circumstances, they are not policemen or parents. Their mission is education, not stopping the students from doing illegal things on the network, which can't be done anyhow.


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