UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Students to learn new Internet piracy rules

– As part of their fall semester 2007 orientation, thousands of students moving into residence halls at the University of California, Berkeley, starting this weekend (Aug. 18-19), will learn that if they use campus computer networks to download copyrighted music, they'll find themselves surfing without a Net.

Under UC Berkeley's new "Learn before you Burn" campaign, residence hall denizens caught illegally downloading music will automatically lose their in-room Internet connection for one week or longer. Previously, students caught downloading copyrighted music only lost their connection if they did not respond to warnings from residence hall officials.

The campus's move to step up education and penalties against Internet piracy comes in response to the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) escalating war on illegal audio and video file sharing on college campuses across the nation. By deterring students from Internet piracy, which can result in expensive litigation and hefty fines, UC Berkeley is demonstrating that it cares about both protecting its students and respecting copyright laws, residence hall officials say.

"It's our job to make sure students who live in the residence halls fully understand the consequences of illegal file-sharing," said Dedra Chamberlin, manager of residential computing services at UC Berkeley. "We don't want students to end up facing a lawsuit or $3,000 fine and saying, 'Why didn't anyone warn me about this?'"

Since January, the RIAA has sent more than 2,000 letters to students nationwide who it claims have downloaded audio files illegally. The letters offer the students an opportunity to pay a discounted "early settlement" fee - it ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 - rather than face possible litigation. Sixteen UC Berkeley students have received such early settlement letters.

The RIAA has already filed suit in federal court against some students who have ignored or rejected settlement offers, including two UC Berkeley students. A 2006 nationwide study of college campuses found that more than half of the students surveyed said they download music and movies illegally.

Starting Sunday, as part of the "Learn before you Burn" campaign, at least 6,000 students attending Cal Connect orientation workshops at residence halls must view video segments about the benefits of legal downloading and the consequences of illegal file sharing. The video includes a dramatized testimonial from a student who was caught sharing files illegally.

To register for their in-room Internet service, students must then read more explicit warnings about copyright infringement and agree, electronically, that they understand what will happen if they flout the law.

Cal Connect orientation workshops also warn students about the perils of giving out too much personal information on sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The information can be exploited by cyberstalkers and other predators, and viewed by prospective employers.

The hour-long sessions on residential computing will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, through Tuesday, Aug. 21, and will target incoming freshmen and transfer students. Approximately 8,000 people live in campus housing at UC Berkeley, including graduate students and faculty members.

Move-in weekend kicks off Welcome Week 2007 (Aug. 20-24), when new students will take campus tours and attend workshops, lectures and receptions offered by UC Berkeley's schools, colleges and departments. For the vast majority of students, classes begin Monday, Aug. 27. UC Berkeley expects 34,525 students to enroll for the fall semester, including 4,275 freshmen; 2,020 new transfer students and 2,890 new graduate students.

Welcome Week highlights include:

New Student Convocation, Monday, Aug. 20, 3:45-6 p.m.
All new undergraduates are invited to hear from Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and other speakers at a picnic dinner at Memorial Glade.

Chancellor's Receptions for New Undergraduates, Tuesday, Aug. 21-Thursday, Aug. 23, 4-5:30 p.m. New undergraduates can meet the chancellor at invitation-only gatherings at the Chancellor's Garden, University House.

Sunset at the Campanile, Tuesday, Aug. 21, and Thursday, Aug. 23, 7-9 p.m.
After-hours tours of the Campanile will be held for new students, who can enjoy the sunset from the observation deck atop the 307-foot Sather Tower.

Calapalooza, Thursday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
More than 300 student groups, campus services and performers will introduce themselves to new students at this annual resource fair at Memorial Glade.

Caltopia, Friday, Aug. 24, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cal's Recreational Sports Facility will host this entertainment festival at 2301 Bancroft Way. Visit: http://www.caltopialive.com/details.php for more details.

Late-night options, alcohol-free, admission-free events open to all students:

Monday, August 20
- Screen on the Green showing of "Billy Madison," hosted by Cal Greeks (UC Berkeley fraternities and sororities), at Memorial Glade, 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
- Social Dancing Lessons, hosted by Cal's Ballroom Dance Club, Pauley Ballroom, MLK Union, 10 p.m-1 a.m.

Tuesday, August 21
- Date Doctor gives romance advice, followed by the movie, "Hitch." Wheeler Auditorium, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
- Hot Latin Night! Dance lessons and performances, Pauley Ballroom, MLK Student Union, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

Wednesday, August 22
- Greek Carnival, hosted by Cal Greeks, Lower Sproul Plaza, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
- Screening of Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs," followed by discussion, sponsored by GIANT, a campus filmmaking organization. 2060 Valley Life Sciences Building, 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Thursday, August 23
- Dance and Casino Night, sponsored by the Residence Hall Assembly, Pauley Ballroom, MLK Union, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Friday, August 24
- Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority presents the Ivy Lounge, live jazz and "mocktails" at Alumni House, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.