*University ranks 2nd for movie piracy
MPAA sends 934 piracy notices to Penn, won't pursue lawsuits
April 5, 2007, 5:00 am·
*This article received a correction. See below for details.
In the latest rankings, Penn has finally broken through the traditional Yale-Harvard-Princeton triumvirate.
In illegally downloaded movies, that is.
The Motion Picture Association of America named Penn the second-worst campus violator for illegally downloaded movies last week.
According to the MPAA, movies have been illegally downloaded on 934 Penn network IP addresses, second only to Columbia University's 1,198.
The MPAA announced its top-25 list of university violators as part of a crackdown on movie downloads, which it claims cost the industry $500 million a year.
The Recording Industry Association of America has also recently garnered attention for renewing its efforts to prosecute students for illegally downloading music on college campuses. The organization has already sent over 800 letters to students threatening lawsuits, though no Penn students have been targeted thus far.
But the MPAA won't be prosecuting students just yet, said spokeswoman Cara Duckworth.
Instead of targeting students through the courts, the MPAA wants colleges to take the forefront in the fight against copyright theft by introducing filters on their networks, providing free legal download services and educating students on the problems of illegal downloading.
It also wants colleges to take internal disciplinary action against violators.
"This is a diplomatic outreach to find an appropriate fix," Duckworth said.
But the University currently has no intention of using such filters, said David Millar of Penn Information Systems and Computing.
Millar did not know if Penn intends to take action against individuals who have downloaded films.
Duckworth said she knew some schools had taken disciplinary action already but is legally prevented from providing details.
All Internet providers are legally obliged to stop illegally obtained digital material from being used on their network, Duckworth said. This includes colleges that provide Internet for their students.
Previously, the MPAA has been less aggressive than the RIAA in pursuing downloaders and has been "more hesitant to sue," said Rebecca Jeschke, spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a freedom-of-information advocacy group.
But Jeschke said there may be problems in the MPAA's strategy. The University of Wisconsin has billed the RIAA for its time in dealing with music piracy, and the MPAA's approach of getting colleges to do the work may leave them open to similar problems.
One solution may involve allocating federal money to universities.
A resolution proposed by Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) currently sits in the U.S. House of Representatives that would give grants to colleges to help them buy software and set up systems to prevent illegal downloads.
Millar said he could not comment on whether the cost of implementing filtering would factor in to Penn's consideration of the issue.
*This article mistakenly reported that the University of Wisconsin had billed the RIAA for its time in dealing with music piracy. In fact, it was the University of Nebraska.