UW cooperates with music industry in suing students

UW cooperates with music industry in suing students
SEATTLE (AP) - The University of Washington intends to start warning students who are in danger of being sued for illegally downloading music.

According to the new policy, university officials will find students illegally downloading on the university's computer network and forward notices of pending lawsuits from the Recording Industry Association of America.

Students will have 20 days to settle with the association by paying $3,000 to $5,000, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported Tuesday.

The music industry began sending pre-lawsuit letters to universities earlier this year in an attempt to fight file-sharing on campuses.

The association requested that UW identify offending students and notify them of the settlement deadline. Otherwise, it would subpoena the university for the person's identity, said Eric Godfrey, vice provost for student life at the UW Seattle campus.

Students' names will not be given to the association, but the university will use its server to identify them and inform them of their settlement options before they get stuck with a lawsuit, Godfrey said.

"This isn't a matter of the university cooperating with the recording industry," he said. "We all concluded that to not pass these along to our students would be unacceptable and more costly to them."

Students were told of the new policy Monday through a campuswide e-mail, Godfrey said.

"There's a lack of details about it," said Tyler Dockins, incoming student body president. "Is the policy retroactive? Is it something that will be enforced from this point on? There's really no information about it, and that's really, really awful."

The UW Internet network is available to students through dorms, campus computer labs, fraternities and sororities, and other housing off-campus.

Dockins said many students engage in illegal downloading casually.

"A lot of them just offhandedly download a song and put it on their MP3 player, or even have a friend who downloads something on their computer," he said.