Spanier comments on Supreme Court decision over copyright issues

June 27, 2005

Statement by Graham B. Spanier
President, Penn State University
Co-Chair, Committee on Higher Education and the Entertainment Industry

The Supreme Court, in its unanimous ruling in the MGM v. Grokster case, has brought further clarity to the line between right and wrong when it comes to the theft of copyrighted works. At no time has our responsibility to address the problem of copyright infringement been greater than it is today.

Although not directly involved in the high court's ruling, educational institutions would do well, in light of the decision, to examine their policies and practices surrounding the inappropriate use of university networks to access peer-to-peer services that are clearly intended to be used for the piracy of movies and music.

We can and should raise awareness of copyright issues, teach our students about integrity, and prove that the higher education community values ethical behavior on its campuses. If we allow students to leave college without comprehending that piracy is wrong, we are failing a generation in more ways than one.

Working with music and motion picture executives, the higher education community has made tremendous progress in addressing piracy on our college campuses. Yet there is considerable work still to be done.


Editor's note: Penn State University became the first university to launch a comprehensive alternative solution to the illegal downloading of music. Since then, more than 40 colleges across the country have followed suit.

Learn more about the University's initiatives in providing legal alternatives to online piracy at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009