Stanford to charge students after DMCA take-down

Interesting. Stanford is instituting a reconnection fee for students who have had their network connections disconnected as a result of receiving a DMCA notice. If after 48 hours a student has not responded to a notice, Stanford will disconnect the student from the network.

A few things to note.

-The letter ends with a similar fallacy to NYU’s: “File-sharing copyrighted content without permission is against the law…” I’d request they be more precise. File-sharing copyrighted content without permission might be illegal depending on the circumstances. The file-sharing they are attempting to address very likely is against the law. But they’re more accurate with a following line: “Downloading content illegally through the Stanford network is not an acceptable option.” That is, saying “All file-sharing of copyrighted content without permission is illegal” is quite possibly incorrect, and “Using the network for illegal purposes is unacceptable” is much more palatable. Don’t assume that students don’t know or care about the distinction.

-A DMCA complaint does not necessarily mean that the law has been broken. Their message and policy does not address that in any way. Yes, dealing with the DMCA is a hassle. Yes, in many cases on a university campus, the DMCA complaint is legitimate. But that’s not always the case. The policy does not address exceptions, for first or subsequent complaints (which have harsher penalties). The receiver of the complaint is guilty if they don’t respond within 48 hours. Unless they’re not. But they’ll still have to pay for the hassle that the copyright holder causes the university. I’d also request they take that into account.

Stanford doesn’t have all of the protections that public universities have, and their copyright policies tend to reflect that.


  1. Jay Wollmann said,

    June 5, 2007 @ 9:34 am

    This is stupid. College students have many files they may need to share LEGALLY. To rule out all file sharing as a blanket rule would be impossible/ unjust of them.

  2. McQuay Parts said,

    July 18, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

    Unfortunately, when there is widespread abuse, the powers that be will generally react with a total ban of whatever facilitates the abuse. Right or wrong, when people don’t police themselves thru responsible behavior, this is the result. And by taking the stand that you “feel” it should be legal so It’s OK is just dead wrong.

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