Recently, an article was published in a monthly newsletter at Harvard Law called “Universities to RIAA: Take a Hike.” If the title isn’t a complete giveaway, the article details how the RIAA is bullying students in college into lawsuits for file-sharing. Harvard feels that a university’s duty is to follow its own mission, not to cater as messenger for the messenger to the RIAA and I couldn’t agree more. Says the article:
The university strives to create knowledge, to open the minds of students to that knowledge, and to enable students to take best advantage of their educational opportunities. The university has no legal obligation to deliver the RIAA’s messages. It should do so only if it believes that’s consonant with the university’s mission. We believe it is not.
Universities are special places, set off in time and space for students to have an opportunity most will not again have: to learn together in a community that cherishes openness above all else. If the university is perceived as doing the bidding of any particular industry, the message we’re sending to students is that the university is willing to let commercial interests intrude.
Strong words. Glad that one of the most prestigious universities in the world realizes that strong-arming students into payments and settlements is not right. When you go off to college, you should be learning, not worrying about a lawsuit for months during your finals. Perhaps now the RIAA will lay low for a bit while it ducks out of the limelight.