Berkeley Warns Freshman To 'Learn Before You Burn'

University of California, Berkeley has mounted a publicity campaign to warn its incoming  freshman class of the consequences of downloading copyrighted music. The message of the campaign is "Learn Before You Burn" and is directed at the 95 percent of incoming freshman who own computers and may have not been aware that most music is not, in fact, free.

In their first week on campus the students went through an orientation on the penalties of illegal downloading. The university will remove from the network for a full week anyone caught illegally downloading copyrighted files.

UC Berkeley Chief Information Officer Shelton Waggener said the school "extended that to a week, to provide the students an opportunity to get more education as to what is going on and warn them of the consequences which include lawsuits from private industry."

In a video produced by the university, incoming freshman Holly Jacobus is quoted as saying: "It's interesting that they now have subpoenas and you can actually be sued for it; I didn't know about that."

The campaign also cautions students about the potential consequences of putting too much personal information on social media sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Diedre Chamberlin, the manager of campus residential computing, said: "Anytime you put out information about yourself out in the public you have no idea who is going to see it or how they are going to use it, so hopefully we don't have people stalking, but it is a possibility."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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