Fired over MP3s

Email.Email weblog link
Blog this.Blog this
Lisa Rein

Lisa Rein
Aug. 06, 2001 11:03 PM

Atom feed for this author. RSS 1.0 feed for this author. RSS 2.0 feed for this author.

The crackdown on file sharing at the office has claimed yet another victim.

If you've been swapping MP3s or running distributed computation software over your employer's network, now would be a good time to:

  • remove all traces of any installed software from your work station and anywhere else on the network.

  • gather up all of your "personal data".

  • take it home and keep it there.

Oh yeah, one more thing: make a mental note to remember to forget that any of it ever happened.

If you think I worry too much, just read Fired over MP3s , an article by CNET's Evan Hansen that ran in today's New York Times.

These days, most employees should know better than to trade MP3 files over their employer's network, but if you're not already in the know, know now: it's time to clean off your work station and start off with a clean slate, so to speak, or you might be the next legal guinea pig.

In fact, the real panic probably hasn't even kicked in yet. Just ask David McOwen, an IT Administrator who was picked up, taken to jail and charged by his former employer with committing a felony act (worth 15 years in the slammer) that resulted in over $400,000 worth of damages (.59 a minute x 500 computers x Winter Break).

This all took place despite his former employer's original assurances from over 18 months ago (when the incident originally took place) that David's resignation would be a sufficient resolution to the matter.

Too bad there's no statute of limitations on hysteria.


Lisa Rein is a co-founder of Creative Commons, a video blogger at On Lisa Rein's Radar, and a singer-songwriter-musican at