Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Your Rights Online

USC To Students: No Sharing Files 435

Posted by timothy
from the and-you-were-expecting-what-exactly dept.
jukal writes: "copy-paste from a Wired article: 'Students at the University of Southern California could face a school year without computer access if they are busted swapping movies and music online. In an e-mail message to all students, school officials warned that using peer-to-peer file-trading services could force the university to kick students off the network. '"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

USC To Students: No Sharing Files

Comments Filter:
  • by Squareball (523165) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:05PM (#4262567)
    What if it's MY music? I cannot share it?
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:07PM (#4262581) Homepage Journal
      Not with the University's resources. Get yer own DSL.

      Amazing, but that's how it'll work in the "real world" too, someday!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:23PM (#4262669)
        Are they still the university's resources when they contract with me to provide a service for a fee? If so, perhaps you should reconsider your relationship with your own internet provider, natch? An even better example would be to consider the housing system. I pay a fee to live on campus. In effect, I am a de facto tenant. As a tenant, I have certain rights. Primarily, the campus cannot waive my rights concerning search and seizure.

        That said, the campus also has a right to impose restrictions upon its tenants and contractees. However, we should have the right to refuse those terms. If they are going to change our contrat in the middle of the game, I should be able to declare it void and demand a refund of my payments. Otherwise, it is unfair.
        • If they are going to change our contrat in the middle of the game, I should be able to declare it void and demand a refund of my payments. Otherwise, it is unfair.

          Unfortunately, your contract with the University (as far as tuition goes and so forth) is on a semester-by-semester basis. So the most you could do is withdraw from the university and get a refund of your tuition for that semester (subject to any refund fees specified in the contract).

        • You should read a housing agreement at a University. You are not a tenent, and do not have the same rights. And, if you want to live there, you have to agree with these agreements, or you live elsewhere, and there is not much you can do about it. Plus, network contracts at a University don't fall under the housing contract, they are under computer use policies, which are written in a way that gives the University complete control over the network.
        • Others have given the clues:

          The administration assumes that if you are using PSP you are making illegal copies. Very few people record their own music. So few people do this that it's not worth taking into consideration. If you are using P2P, they will assume that you're guilty of copyright violations, and it will be up to you to prove yourself innocent.

          Also, it has been pointed out that you're at a school that gets a lot of money from the movie and recording industries. If you are allowed to distribute your own music without first signing it over to a recording company, you will shoot down the whole reason that those companies exist.

          This is what it's all about, dummy. The Internet is providing artists like you with a new channel to your audience. That channel isn't under the control of the recording industry. You don't have to sign over the rights to your music to distribute it on the Internet. This is one of the things that the RIAA is trying to stop. They've realized that if they don't stop it, they'll be out of business.

          This is all documented well enough in other places, including previous /. articles. Go google for them a bit ...
        • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@gmaQUOTEil.com minus punct> on Sunday September 15, 2002 @10:57PM (#4263517)
          As a tenant, I have certain rights. Primarily, the campus cannot waive my rights concerning search and seizure.

          Almost true. I served as a Resident Assistant for two years, and in that time, our lawyers had cause to investigate this.

          Basically, you have 4th amendment rights only as far as criminal prosecution is concerned. That means that our campus police, deputized by the town police, cannot search your room without a warrant.

          However, being kicked out or otherwise sanctioned by the University is not a criminal procedure, only contractual actions. So that means a Resident Assistant or Hall Director could search your room, and the University could hold it against you in it's own internal sanction process.

          That being said, U of New Hampshire's policy is to behave in a manner that offers 4th-amendment-like protections from all University staff, cause they don't want to be seen as the Gestopo.

      • I did. They ramp that down, too.
    • What if it's MY music? I cannot share it?

      Hey.. ya ever consider reading the article?

      fro, the article:
      The e-mail outlines the definition of copyright violations, particularly with respect to making copies of movies and music.
      • I did. My point is that if it's MY music and I share it it should be ok according to the article. The article talks about copyright infringment. But I don't think that USC is worried about people violating copyrights, I think they are worried about the cost of bandwidth.
        • They probably are, but the article focuses on the copyright violations, and even said (somewhat ambiguously?) that USC was asking other ISPs to shut down sites promoting "piracy" around the country. Whether or not USC cares about bandwidth (and my experience on a university technology committee was that bandwidth was not a problem, and our school has far fewer resources than USC), they clearly do express worry about copyright infringement.
        • I think they are worried about the cost of bandwidth.

          Being friends with some sysops at a university means you sometimes get to see the numbers.

          Most universities are connected to some "research-internet" which has enormous amounts of bandwidth.

          P2P networks however tend to consume large, VERY LARGE amounts of bandwidth.

          A couple of years ago, before p2p networks took off, they had more than 60% of the 155Mb/s dedicated to file-sharing. Now they must have something like 10 times more bandwidth and a higher percentage of "illegal music" moving about.

          Even if you're a large university, the sharing of the student's own music is not going to be significant on the bandwidth bill...

          Roger.
    • by jareds (100340) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:10PM (#4262599)

      What if it's MY music? I cannot share it?

      That's not a justifiable thing to assume. According to the article, "the e-mail outlines the definition of copyright violations," which strongly implies that they are only concerned with copyright violations, and distributing your own music is not a copyright violation.

    • USC receives much of its financing, especially its prestigious Film School, there can be no doubt that this was financially motivated on USC's part becuase of political pressure from the MPAA. This new rule is not a coincidence, not that the ruling is not economically sensible in some regards.
    • by yerricde (125198)

      What if it's MY music? I cannot share it?

      No, you cannot share it, because the music you think you wrote probably isn't your music. It belongs to the music publisher who published the particular sequence of four notes before you did. Under the "substantial similarity" standard used by United States courts, there are fewer than 50,000 possible distinct melodies in the Western musical scale [everything2.com], and there are hundreds of thousands of copyrighted songs published by major music publishers who have cross-licensing agreements with one another. Do the math. What's the probability of avoiding a lawsuit? What's the probability of winning if you can't afford legal representation?

    • Nononono... It's merely out on lease. Infact, the Labels have the right to repossess your music at any time.

      On that note, how else is the industry supposed to recoup their loses when they are used to the business model "One product per person"? Puttin aside the gouging they engage in, I seriously wonder how people think that is fair? I bought a blender, I own it and if the neighbor wants to borrow it, great, even if for an extended time. But there is only one blender at all times and I suspect eventially, you'll want it back and the neighbor will either A) be inconvinienced or B) Buy his own. That used to work for the Record Labels too. Now it doesn't. They distribute one copy, and you have the ability to make an infinite number of copies from yours. Your property, right?

      In reality, while it's a abuse on the customer's part, it's really the record industry's failure to adapt adequately that's the problem. By all rights it IS your copy and you should do what you want with it. But it's also the company's right to ensure they make a profit off of it, but WITHOUT violating your rights. So what's a Label to do? Copy protection, but we all know that game. New formats, but nobody's buying into it. They're in a unique situation... Unless THEY get a clue, we're going to end up involuntarily strangling them to death and dump the recording industry into a recession. Yeah, I actually believe that.
  • Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RomSteady (533144) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:06PM (#4262573) Homepage Journal
    If you're going to do it, use a dial-up account with your own ISP, because we can't afford all of the bandwidth.
    • Is it okay to set up a 54Mbps 802.11g wireless network to waste bandwidth? I personally don't swap music at school, but I'd like to know the possibilities of high-bitrate streaming media across campus, and other bandwidth-intensive operations.
      • The university most likely does not pay for traffic inside of its own network unless they pay a local provider for the infrastructure.

        As long as the traffic remains completely within their network, they only pay with a decrease in overall network performance, not in pennies. The moment it leaves their network, however, THAT is when the financial charges come.

  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:06PM (#4262574)
    Let's see, how are we addressing this issue this week? Isn't this the way that we *want* piracy to be addressed? By going after the *pirates* instead of the *technology?* I wonder how many reactionary Slashbots will attack USC for taking *exactly* the approach that these same Slashbots have recommended so many times.

    Hat's off to you, USC. Keep up the good work.
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gilroy (155262) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:24PM (#4262676) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      Isn't this the way that we *want* piracy to be addressed? By going after the *pirates* instead of the *technology?*

      Slow down there. The article is light on details but it seems to me that the university is banning all P2P traffic, not just copyright-infringing traffic. You can insert the standard hyperbolic "But 99.9999% of P2P traffic is infringing" but it doesn't matter: They certainly do seem to be going after the technology, not the content.
      • Re:Good (Score:2, Flamebait)

        but it doesn't matter

        YES, it EXACTLY does matter. Automobiles are not used 99.999% for illegitimate purposes. It is legitimate to ban P2P because there are alternatives (e.g., FTP) for legitimate trading. There basically is zero downside to banning P2P programs.

        • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

          by _Sprocket_ (42527)


          There basically is zero downside to banning P2P programs.


          But then... what you're doing is going after the technology, not the pirates. Again.
        • There basically is zero downside to banning P2P programs. Oh please. P2P can also be used for other purposes, like distributing documents that your government consider "subversive". Besides, the documentation that file traders buy less music is dubious. Both sides have been able to prove their position by studies. To the rest of us, that means that the negative business impact is inconclusive.

          If you remember back to the 80s, VCRs was going to kill the movie industry, like the tape deck was going to kill the music industry. The (RI|MP)AA are luddites. They don't know what's good for them - just look at history.

          I can see a good reason why the University would rather not have their students using all the bandwidth for sharing files of uncontrolled legality. Costs. Perhaps morals.

          However, P2P is not an inherently bad technology. Furthermore, it is probably still not optimal, so there is a need for further research. There are also other areas within internet applications/usage that needs further research. Stifling internet access for the students is not in the interest of the rest of the world, since that would prevent the students from becoming exposed to research areas.
      • Re:Good (Score:2, Informative)

        by MalleusEBHC (597600)
        They are NOT banning all P2P traffic. They are only saying that users caught illegally trading music will have their rights to use the university ISP revoked. Stories like this should not be posted without all the proper facts so people like this don't make false accusations.
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

      by crush (19364)
      • 1. It's not "piracy". The very use of the word conflates the murder, rape and plunder of the passengers of sailing vessels with giving a free copy of a Britney Spears song to a buddy
      • 2. They're not going after the "pirates", they *are* going after the *technology*: they ban P2P networks because the 9th Circuit found that most people that use P2P use it for swapping copyrighted material. You are COMPLETELY wrong on this point.
      • 3. "Hat's off to you, USC" is ungrammatical. It means either "Hat is off to you, USC" or " belonging to Hat off to you USC".

      If you're going to troll about filesharing make sure that you are both correct and cogent.
      • "Hat is off to you, USC"
        "Hat's off to you" and "Hats off to you" are both perfectly fine. "Hat's off to you" is intended to be "my hat is off to you" with the "my" elided. "Hat is off to you" is not exactly what was intended, but it's still grammatically correct.
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GMontag451 (230904)
      Let's see, how are we addressing this issue this week? Isn't this the way that we *want* piracy to be addressed? By going after the *pirates* instead of the *technology?

      Yes, this is the way we want piracy to be addressed, but its being addressed by the *wrong people*. It is not USC's responsibility to stop illegal activities over their lines any more than it is AT&T's responsibility to stop fraud over the phone lines, unless a warrant is involved. It is law enforcement's responsibility to stop activities of this sort. Imagine your local phone company started tapping your lines for no reason and overheard you talking about how fast you just went in your car and sent a police officer to go give you a ticket? This is exactly what's going on at USC. If they are served a warrant, then by all means, monitor the network, but only if they are served a warrant.

    • Let's see, how are we addressing this issue this week? Isn't this the way that we *want* piracy to be addressed? By going after the *pirates* instead of the *technology?* I wonder how many reactionary Slashbots will attack USC for taking *exactly* the approach that these same Slashbots have recommended so many times.

      Hat's off to you, USC. Keep up the good work.


      Man... This troll comes out to play on *every* *single* *topic*. I almost feel like wading through past topics to cut and paste the response that someone else made to this post in one of it's original locations. I wouldn't be surprised if most of this post was cut and pasted itself.

      Anyway. The obvious response is, AC, that Slashdot is a heterogenous community. As much as you'd like to think we're all hypocrites that agree with each other about everything, sometimes the differing responses aren't due to hypocrisy, but rather honest disagreement.

      And even more to the point: NONE OF THE HIGHLY MODDED POSTS SAY ANYTHING LIKE THAT. It looks like all us slashbots are thinking harder than you are.

      Personally, I oppose copyright. I would like to live to see the death of copyright. I don't like what USC is doing, only because they're slowing down the process. But, everyone here has to see that USC has the right to do whatever the fuck they like with their bandwidth. If they don't want P2P traffic on it, that's up to them. They could also decide that they don't want any foreign language traffic. And no slashbot said any different.
  • by autopr0n (534291) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:07PM (#4262579) Homepage Journal
    Hrm, here at ISU the local campus LAN is just about all anyone needs. Would kinda suck if people couldn't use that anymore...
    • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:13PM (#4262615) Journal
      Yeah. If you have sharescan [sharescan.net] and a college network, who needs Napster/Gnutella/WinMX/Kazaa?
      • by grazzy (56382)
        if everyone on the network used a program like that the net would be swamped. netbios isnt exactly the most pretty protocol, use a centralized server like waesch ( http://waesch.mircosoft.nu ) or untzuntzlan ( http://untzuntzlan.scourgeforge.net ) instead.

        • Granted, it's not the most elegant way to do things, but when anyone who runs a centralized search server gets smacked down by the powers that be, it's the only option (and the network guys brought it on themselves!). It's light-years better than using the crappy network browser built into windows explorer. Every time I use that thing I wonder how Microsoft could possibly advertise it as a feature: it freezes explorer windows for minutes at a time for no apparent reason, sometimes crashes, and is always unreliable. It is basically unusable for browsing large networks with lots of computers and files, and it has no search function.

          I think the best option would be a P2P system where a shared distributed catalog of available files is kept up-to-date through occasional partial scans by random computers on the network. That way most of the time no one has to scan anything, and when scanning is necessary only one or two computers will be doing it. The scan results would be available for all to use, with no centralized server to bear the brunt of the network admin's wrath.

  • Just shape them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WetCat (558132) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:09PM (#4262589)
    Put traffic shaper on them - let them use equivalent of 28800 modem. Just enough for browsing the web and work but lousy for file sharing...
    • That would require actual *enforcement*, which is expensive. Should the university actually kick someone of their network, this might be a good suggestion.

      As yet, the university has employed only talk, which is cheap.
    • Have you browsed the web recently with a 28.8 ? <shudder>

      I can remember how long it can take to load a few website back on my 56k modem. Slashdot can take anywhere from 25-35 seconds to load while you just sit there and stare at the screen. Yahoo 10 seconds, cnn.com 20 seconds, etc. Yuck!

      I am surprised how anyone can get anything done when doing research on the web at these horrible speeds.

      Also how am I suppose to run my own web server if I am severely capped? Or how about a web cam? Or how about the MBA student who needs to receive lots of excel and word docs via email from other students on his/her project? I do not pirate anymore and my provider cox cable just recently arrested a pirate in my apartment complex for using limewire and I have no plans on pirating in the future. I noticed the performance went up after that incident because he was hogging all the resources. Basically if they catch the guys who do these things, then everyone who does legitimate use benefits. Crippling everyone will just hurt everyone and not solve the problems.

      A similar plan like the one from USC is perfect and needed for most universities. My first guess is that all of their local government representives only represent the MPAA/RIAA in all copyright disputes and are heavily paid off. GO to opensecrets.com and check every single senator from California and see who were the biggest campiagn contributers? Remember that these senators are the ones who decide how much money the university should recieve from the government. If the RIAA complains then the university could lose money.

      USC also does not want to be sued. Lawsuits are expensive and would drain resources out of learning. Third the university can save even more money by cutting down on bandwidth costs. My guess is filesharing 24/7 is eating something ridiculous like %90 of the bandwidth. It needs to be filtered out.

      Capping everyone and still letting the pirates download will solve the cost of bandwidth but still leaves it open to legal action and funding cuts as well as hurting its students and staff who use the web alot. Naspter was still used by a heavy majority on 56k modems when it was still around and students will still download mp3's. just not as much. I agree that filtering is a must and would benifit everyone except the pirates.

    • Just for a reality check.. when I bought this place, I found myself saddled with a shit phone line and no broadband available. My average dialup speed went from 53k ALL the time to 26k on a good day. Bloat being what it is, 26k is no longer adequate even for everyday browsing (and I don't load images or javascript). As a result my time online has more than doubled yet I get half as much reading and other such work done, even tho I've dropped most of the "just for fun" sites from my daily rounds.

      I'd hate to be a student trying to do research on a 28k connect.

  • by flamingdog (16938) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:09PM (#4262594) Homepage
    You think I'm paying to go to school so I can learn? I'm paying for 5 years of quick music, movies, and porn, damn it. Turn off my network access and I'm going to community college.
  • This is nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by krin (519611) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:10PM (#4262595) Homepage
    This has been happening at colleges all over for some time. Last year when I was still living on campus they sent out letters to each room saying something similar to this. Everyone did it anyway. I never understood why they didnt just filter them out .. but I didn't work in the IT department. Anyway, the guys upstairs found a few wi-fi networks in the area and ran a cat5 out the window and down to our room so we had unrestricted (and suprisingly faster) access then the rest of the campus.
  • by izx (460892) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:12PM (#4262607)
    My school/univ, The Cooper Union, is supposed to be a top-ranking undergraduate engineering college (per US News rankings), but in the dorms (aka "student residence") here, ANY kind of file sharing is banned. The admins have taken proactive measures, including blocking ALL inbound access, and blocking ALL one/two-way UDP traffic. Only outbound TCP is allowed...and "criminal" ports like 1214 (Kazaa), 6699 (WinMX) and a host of other ports are blocked.

    What also sucks is that the UDP block also cuts down ICMP ECHO (aka "Ping") packets...it is a crying shame that an Electrical Engineering student at "one of the best engineering schools" cannot verify network response times!!

    Let me add, however, that I understand the file-sharing thing...our pipe is just 3xT1, and they wouldn't want to bog it down with pr0n and mp3s.
    Ideally, they would use Packeteer or some other program to prioritize non-file-sharing traffic and/or throttle bandwidth to and from "criminal" ports. The UDP/ICMP block, however, is inane.

    But hey, in case you didn't know, the Cooper Union is the only 4-year private univ in the US that gives a full-tuition scholarship worth about $100k over four years to every student admitted!
    • by bwhaley (410361) <spam4ben AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:34PM (#4262725)
      I work for ITS at CU Boulder. We have very similar things in place here as well. Ours is a bit different, however. When a student moves in to the dorms they have to sign a document, a bit like a EULA. Nobody reads it. When browsing through the fine print you come across two interesting points (no link available, here they are in English):

      Peer-to-Peer file sharing is a no-no

      WAP's are bad news

      Further reading indicates that you can get shut off for a short period for file sharing and have your jack turned off for good for having a WAP. Apparently last year somebody had an Airport up and it took down 3 floors in one of the dorms.

      Both of those seem like pretty heavy penalties. That is *exactly* how the policy went at the beginning of this school year. I think they may have sent out another reminder about the wireless though. I guess they realized that nobody was reading the agreements and it wasn't fair to simply shut their jack's off with no warning.

      Anyway.. guess Universities are getting tired of wasted bandwidth. Here [colorado.edu] is a graph of bandwidth usage at Boulder over the last 48 hours and here [colorado.edu] is the base site with lots of statistics, in case you're interested.

      Ben

    • It seems nobody has gone to Cooper Union's website and do a little reading. Cooper Union is a private institution. It was founded by Peter Cooper, a wealthy industrialist in the 1800s. He also did this without ever learning to read. So, he took much of his money and set up The Cooper Union. The university runs on an endowment set up by the founder. Therefore, the school isn't paid for by taxes. Cooper Union does own real estate and land, so rents from people leasing the university's land and properities also help pay for the upkeep of the school. The tuition is completely paid for students. They still have to pay for books, an annual student fees, and living expenses (i.e. dorm), but the education itself is paid. The tuition's value is an estimate based on competing universities' tuitions that offer similar programs. By the way, it is really hard to get admitted into the school (this is also reinforced by several surveys, including U.S. News). There are less than 1000 matriculated students total, so there are no more than 150-200 freshman slots available. This is how the school can keep costs down for making tuitions free for students: limit the available seats.
  • by Istealmymusic (573079) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:12PM (#4262610) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot: "No Sharing Files". The article: "year without computer access if they are busted swapping movies and music online."

    Does this mean students can swap illegal software and media offline on CDs? I'd think it more efficient that way anyways. Who is with me?

  • I'm sick and fucking tired of the retards who run P2P filesharing software on my University's network. Thanks to them, during the first and last two weeks of each semester, I see my bandwidth get killed (which I use for legitimate purposes, downloading source tarballs, ISOs of Linux distributions, and so forth). Everytime I see some moron running KaZaA, It is all I can do to avoid purchasing a lethal weapon and killing them.

  • michael (Score:2, Funny)

    by six (1673)
    "We want to alert you to the fact that many of you are risking complete loss of access to the USC computer system and both disciplinary and legal action," wrote USC dean of libraries Jerry Campbell and vice president of student affairs Michael Jackson in the e-mail.

    this could explain that ...
  • by blair1q (305137)
    The network is capable of preventing crime, and now someone's actually doing it.
  • by dotgod (567913)
    At the University of Central Florida, they have a no p2p policy also. I got caught last year and had to pay (about) $30 to go to a "computer usage" workshop for an hour. 20 minutes of the hour were spent watching an episode of Futorama. Students who got caught twice had their network access permanently revoked. The letter that I recieved gave me a URL that contained the "evidence" (in the form of a SniffIt screenshot) that I was using a p2p network.
    • I got caught last year and had to pay (about) $30 to go to a "computer usage" workshop for an hour. 20 minutes of the hour were spent watching an episode of Futorama.

      Fascinating! I'm sure News Corporation, and its subsidiary, 20th Century Fox Television, would LOVE to know that the University of Central Florida is publicly exhibiting their intellectual property for profit.

      I wonder if UCF has a license for that material?

      -Isaac

    • 20 minutes of the hour were spent watching an episode of Futorama. 20 minutes? This means it was without commercials!!! BUNCH OF THIEVES [customerparadigm.com]!!!
  • by bp33 (24229)
    The wired article doesn't make it clear if all P2P activity is banned or just movies and music. I suspect from an administrative standpoint they'll shut down the whole P2P thing rather than check to see what is being shared, and if you have legal right to distribute it (e.g. photos from last weekend's kegger).

    It also doesn't say if intranet P2P is OK, or if they are just forbidding P2P to/from outside the university.

    Of course the USC network admins know this directive is foolish. File sharing happens via IRC, FTP, HTTP, IM and many other forms, straight client-client as well as through various tunnels and gateways between P2P networks. It's not likely that they want to become police, either.

    This directive serves the university only two ways (ok maybe three).
    1) It gets the RIAA off their backs for a while.
    2) It keeps the clueless from using P2P networks - only the clueful will know how to still share files at will, and they are less likely to get caught and spell trouble for the University.
    3) It reduces the load on their network.

    All three are temporary gains but they must think that's better than nothing. Once again we see somebody attacking the symptom (P2P) rather than the problem (stealing copyrighted works).
  • At my university (private school in east Texas) there is no official policy on using filesharing programs. However, if you use too much bandwidth the other students will track you down and make you pay. I remember one day when I stepped out of my room and saw a lynch mob headed my direction. Fortunately I convinced them it wasn't me. (And it really wasn't, either.) I don't think they would have believed me, but I let them examine my computer for themselves.
  • in my school (georgia tech), we just use something called buzzsearch [buzzsearch.org], it's a webbased windows shares/samba scanning/indexing/searching service. The source for it is available on sourceforge, so people at other schools can start their own services. So far, all p2p networks are allowed, including kazaa, imesh, gnutella, etc..
  • by octalgirl (580949)
    All this banning seems extreme. I know of a couple of kids (one at Penn State) that follow a more reasonable rule. Students are given a basic set of etiquette rules, and warned about downloading copyrighted material. Each student is given a limited amount of bandwidth per month, which is monitored. If they go over, they better have a good reason, or they'll lose their net privileges for the rest of the term. This method allows for high tech access to information, and educates them at the same time. Isn't that what school is for?
    • ...give you a basic bandwidth per month, and if you want to go over, you have to fork out lots more per month.

      (Cisco has a solution that does this, if I remember right...but I can't remember what it's called.)

  • Why don't the students just build their own wireless network for filesharing? Could be too difficult....
    • Why don't the students just build their own wireless network for filesharing? Could be too difficult....

      Because students are cheap and wireless equipment costs money. The reason to use P2P is to avoid paying, wireless would negate that.

  • My school [kettering.edu] implemeted a similar policy [kettering.edu] several weeks ago, citiing a warning letter from the BSA. I imagine this is something that will happen more and more in coming months as 1.) the BSA sends out scare letters and 2.) Schools get sick of having legitimate educational traffic degraded for P2P file swapping.
  • I attend USC (Score:5, Informative)

    by zurmikopa (460568) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:29PM (#4262708) Homepage
    They were one of the universities to block napster when it started becoming a problem, but they later reversed that. I'm no longer on the campus network having moved to my own appartment but when I was on the network, even when there was massive amounts of file sharing it was still considerably faster than my 1.5/768 dsl is now, so I don't think bandwidth is the real issue as some have suggested. They flag down those that consume a lot of bandwidth and send them warnings, and sometimes suspensions. (I have a friend that shared files over irc and got a nasty letter about using too much bandwidth)

    My freshman year (a while ago) the "my network neighborhood" feature of windows worked and many shared files that way. That went away the following year much to the annoyance of many students.

    This e-mail isn't really news, it's more of a reminder of a policy that was already in place.

    On an only slightly related note. The campus network is handled by ISD (Internet Services Division) which has nothing to do with the CS department. The CS department has an eternal grudge with ISD. (As do a good number of CS students)

    USC also seems to take complaints about the students overly seriously. My friend got spam sent to him to which he replied "Fuck you" along with some other unpleasentness. The spammer complained to USC who sent my friend a warning about proper conduct.
  • At Virginia Tech (Go Hokies, #7), the way we deal with filesharers is a lot more interesting. If a certain port in the dorm is noticed for downloading/uploading quite a huge load from the same provider(s) for a few days, the person gets put on a T1 or a 256Kb DSL line until they shape up.

    They can still access data on the VT network at full speed, but after they hit that last VT gateway into the Internet, that speed is halted. Severely.

  • The actual email (Score:5, Informative)

    by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @07:33PM (#4262724)
    Here is the whole copy of what was sent to all students here:
    Dear Student:
    This email is being sent to all students at USC to make sure they have the same information about copyright compliance.
    Introduction
    The University of Southern California is committed to the education of its students. Part of the educational process includes the provision of internet connections for students in classrooms, residences, libraries, eating establishments, and other places on campus. Students who live off campus may also access the internet through USC's computers via modems. Over the past two years the university has made efforts to make students aware of policies governing the use of its computing facilities and systems to enhance their educational experience and keep them from violating university, state, federal polices and laws that would negatively impact their student status.
    As a part of this ongoing effort we want to alert you to the fact that many of you are risking complete loss of access to the USC computer system and both disciplinary and legal sanctions. Below is an overview of how students are placing themselves in jeopardy by inappropriately using USC's internet connections.
    Is File Sharing Worth Losing Student Privileges at USC?
    You are undoubtedly aware of the development of file-sharing software such as Napster, Gnutella, and Hotline, also known as peer-to-peer networks ("P2P networks"), and the fact that the use of P2P networks to share copyrighted material, such as movies, music and software, can violate the rights of copyright owners. As you probably know, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the majority of Napster users are directly infringing federal copyright law by sharing music files without the permission of musical artists and recording companies who own these materials.
    Copyright infringement occurs whenever you make a copy of any copyrighted work - songs, videos, software, cartoons, photographs, stories, novels - without purchasing that copy from the copyright owner, or obtaining permission some other way. Infringement also occurs when one person purchases an authorized copy, but allows others to reproduce further "pirated" copies. For example, if a student purchases a CD and creates an MP3 copy on his or her hard drive, and then uses a P2P network to share that MP3 copy with others, both the student and those making copies are infringing the owners' copyright rights and violating federal copyright law.
    USC prohibits any infringement of intellectual property rights by any member of the USC community. As an academic institution, USC's purpose is to promote and foster the creation of intellectual property. It is antithetical to this purpose for USC to play any part, even inadvertently, in the violation of the intellectual property rights of others. The USC policy regarding student use of USC computing resources clearly states that a student who reproduces or distributes copyrighted materials in electronic form without permission from the material's owner may be removed from the USC computer system and face further disciplinary action.
    Further, infringing conduct exposes the infringer to serious legal penalties. In response to the growth of infringement through P2P networks, the recording and motion picture industries have increased their efforts to identify and stop those who download unauthorized music and video files. Organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) can and do monitor P2P users, obtaining "snapshots" of the users' Internet protocol addresses, the files they are downloading or uploading from their P2P directories, the time that downloading occurs, and the Internet service provider (ISP) through which the files travel. (Gathering this information is not a violation of the users' privacy rights, because the user has voluntarily made his or her P2P directory available for public file sharing.)
    Once this information is obtained, RIAA, MPAA and others can demand that an ISP remove any infringing copies from its system and may obtain a court order directing the ISP to identify the infringing user and to cut off the infringing user's access to the ISP's system. Further, if the user is determined to have infringed copyright rights, whether through P2P networks or other means, he or she can also be subject to sanctions such as the destruction of all unauthorized copies and monetary damages. In some cases, criminal sanctions - imprisonment and fines - may be imposed.
    As an ISP for its students and faculty, USC has received an increasing number of notices from RIAA and MPAA identifying the IP addresses of USC students who are sharing copies of music and videos without authorization. USC will be forwarding such notices to the individual students involved and taking further steps to ensure that the infringing conduct ceases immediately, including, where necessary, depriving that student of any access to the USC computer system and further disciplinary sanctions. Obviously, if the complaining organization decides to take further steps to identify and prosecute the infringer, such conduct also runs the risk of incurring sanctions under federal copyright law, which can include monetary damages, and, in cases that are sufficiently extreme, criminal penalties - both imprisonment and fines. Copyright law provides no exception from liability for university students.
    You should be aware that sharing music, videos, software, and other copyrighted material is a violation of law and can expose you and those with whom you share to legal sanctions, as well as sanctions under USC's own policy. Please do not put yourself, your friends, parents, and USC in the awkward position of having to confront such issues. We trust that you will take this issue seriously and conduct yourself accordingly.


    Sincerely,
    Jerry D. Campbell Dean of Libraries and Chief Information Officer

    Sincerely,
    Michael L. Jackson Vice President for Student Affairs
    • USC prohibits any infringement of intellectual property rights by any member of the USC community.

      That's big of them. I wonder if they prohibit rape and murder too?
    • USC prohibits any infringement of intellectual property rights by any member of the USC community. As an academic institution, USC's purpose is to promote and foster the creation of intellectual property.


      The purpose of any university should be to promote and foster the advance of knowledge/science. Whether knowledge as a property (IP) is the best method to do so is, at best, of secondary importance, a means to reach that goal. It cannot be a goal in itself.

      In that sense I think this is a very very strange statement.

      The only valid reason to not allow it is that a public institution should abide by the law, and the law forbids it (just like murder, rape etc). So whether the universtity agrees with this law or not (that is irrelevant) it cannot tolerate students and staff to break the law using their facilities.

      Therefore, the first sentence in the quote is redundant.
  • Just make sure you shut of sharing with other users :)
  • OR... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    peer-to-peer file-trading services could force the university to kick students off the network.

    OR ...could force the smart students to develop an anonymous, encrypted filesharing system and squash the whole plan. woops! now what? maybe a better solution is just plain traffic-usage capping.

  • I mean, they are simply warning students that the RIAA has been watching the scene and they are attempting to compartmentalize the students from the greater network.....for the good of all file swappers too.

    I think that the message is "be discrete about your swapping, use FTP, CD's and other media for the transfer...don't advertise and especially don't gloat that you are getting away with it."

    Remember also, they don't want to get involved with policing everything on the net. That's the angle that all ISP's are taking against the RIAA/DMCA lawsuits now....pretty much "it's not our business what the customer has at their house, they don't have it on the server here, so it's none of our business." I think that the school is just attempting to give themselves a little "plausable deniability" in this matter.

    As P2P goes, "advertising" all of the songs that you have at one location is dangerous. That's a known weakness. Perhaps this will get solved, so that donors do not have to have their IP's revealed...
  • Another Side (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Raichlea (315380)
    I do tech support at the University of Pittsburgh and Besides the bandwidth suckage of p2p there is another problem. The Riaa has been hassling the university tirelessly about file sharing. It seems that alot of computers on campus were getting hacked and many of them were serving Warcraft 3. We were contacted and threatened with fines and all sorts of legal crap. The university is now instituting a similar ban to the one that we are discussing here and it is important. There are a few advantages that a university cannot pass up.
    1. no lawsuits, if it's an enforced policy than the specific violators can be prosecuted.
    2.Less pay wasted on sending tech support to remove the multitude of viruses from kazaa downloads.
    3.MORE BANDWIDTH to be used for legitimate uses.

    Here's the thing: why should the university provide a way for people to trade copyrighted material?
  • Why USC? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aquarian (134728) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @08:08PM (#4262869)
    This is no surprise, considering USC is right down the road from Sony, Universal, Disney, Paramount, etc. It supplies more wetware to the film and entertainment industry than any other, and takes more money from said industry to support its world class film, music, and business departments.
  • No problem. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by camelrider (46141) on Sunday September 15, 2002 @08:21PM (#4262909)
    Schools provide students' network access as an aid to their education.

    If a student feels he/she must have p2p there are private ISP's out there who are willing to offer their services for a price. Most people in the real world do pay for their internet access.

    There is no reason that a student should expect his/her school to sacrifice bandwidth or risk legal problems to support the student's habit.
    • If I pay for university housing, a fee for the use of the university network is included. Therefore, I do pay for internet access.
    • the letter they sent out implies that they will be monitoring all of your traffic, on campus or not.

      From a previous post [slashdot.org]:

      The USC policy regarding student use of USC computing resources clearly states that a student who reproduces or distributes copyrighted materials in electronic form without permission from the material's owner may be removed from the USC computer system and face further disciplinary action.

      and:

      Organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) can and do monitor P2P users, obtaining "snapshots" of the users' Internet protocol addresses, the files they are downloading or uploading from their P2P directories, the time that downloading occurs, and the Internet service provider (ISP) through which the files travel. (Gathering this information is not a violation of the users' privacy rights, because the user has voluntarily made his or her P2P directory available for public file sharing.)

      The unavoidable conclusion is that USC will listen to the RIAA and kick students of the school networks if they claim infringment.

      The potential for abuse is manifest, despite the proported condern from student privacy. Students without access to computing resources may not be able to complete assingments and so the ban ammounts to expulsion. Will the University just take someone else's word for such a serious charge and punishment? It looks like the process could short circuit many student protections all for the sake of the lowest form of publicaion in the world, pop music.

      Their definition of copyright violation is a bit out of wack too:

      Copyright infringement occurs whenever you make a copy of any copyrighted work - songs, videos, software, cartoons, photographs, stories, novels - without purchasing that copy from the copyright owner, or obtaining permission some other way.

      Bullshit. My copies of my property are my business and are covered by fair use. Republication is a violation of copyright and reasonable numbers of coppies do not constitute a republication.

      Factual errors like this from a major university are disturbing. If they don't get it, who will? Are the same idiots who wrote this letter in charge of prsecuting students? Great!

  • It's times like this I demand karma for now being the target of sympathy and pity.

    Heh.

  • USC is a private University in Los Angeles and is closely tied into the film and music industries there. Of course, they'd cow tow to their 'benefactors' in the RIAA and MPAA. What do you expect them to do? Have the balls to say no? No way!
  • This is probably more of a matter of bandwidth usage then anything else. I know at Gatech the uplink was being maxed out constantly in the fall and spring last year causing even ssh to computers on campus from off campus to be slow.

    They won't officially tell us what they did to fix the problem but they sure didn't come out and say we couldn't use file trading programs. What it basically looks like is they selectively drop so many packets from the typical file sharing programs to lighten the load so that other types of packets have no trouble getting out. By dropping only the occassional packet they can let the connection stay alive and not interrupt the transfer but effectively slow it down and leave more burst bandwidth for other stuff.
  • And just _how_ are they going to _prove_ that a given student has knowingly run filesharing?

    Jes, they can sniff & log IPs and MACs. But both can be cloned. A malicious student could get another in deep trouble.

    Any draconian authority has to be careful not to get used as a hammer for personal revenge.

  • I spent my first year in the dorms. Life was hell and the school did MUCH to make it worse. When I left and moved off campus to a nice apartment, school became so much better. On campus students are NOT people, they are CA$H cows to be milked for as much as possible. I picked up a room mate and the cost was not much more the I was paying to the school.
  • P2P is an expensive problem for campuses. Here are some interesting statistics about network usage at Cornell University:

    http://www.cit.cornell.edu/computer/students/bandw idth/charts.html [cornell.edu]

    Over 55% of total dorm bandwidth was from Kazaa/Morpheus!

  • responsibility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blisspix (463180) on Monday September 16, 2002 @03:30AM (#4264146)
    some comments seem to suggest that it's a bit lame that the university is doing this to get the RIAA off their backs. my response is, it's perfectly reasonable. I work in a library. We could say, sure, copy and download what you like, but be aware of your copyright responsibilities, and we'd get laughed at. Therefore, the library has to make decisions to ensure that we are not held responsible for someone else's mistakes. responsibility for copyright compliance generally lies with libraries, archives, and other similar bodies. The university is just acting to ensure that someone doesn't bring down a massive suit because some dweeb decided to download Britney's new album. Yes, the administation is responsible for that.

    Besides, who really needs that much online access. I got through university on dialup.

    And thinking ahead, would you show up at work and download several gigs a day on Kaazaa?
  • University networks aren't there so that you can do whatever you want (though most of them let you get away with it). I don't see the problem with network admins not providing you with more services you can justifably need for your studies, and they do not include P2P. If you do not like the AUP, find a provider that gives you what you want. If you can't, that still doesn't allow you to break that contract.

    There are two points here - bandwidth hogs and copyright infringers - often related but not necessarily. People who only use a lot of bandwidth for serious purposes is ok, I don't think any admin will kick you for downloading a full set of linux distros etc.

    But it's not there for you to get your latest Britney Spears album or the Tron 2 DVDrip. And as I read the actual email, you will only lose access if you commit crimes (read: copyright infringement) using the university's connection. Does that really surprise you?

    So I find the universities have the full right to decide:

    - Wheather they wish to offer access to any P2P networks.
    - What to do in case of copyright infringement, like terminate the contract.

    But I would say they can not:

    - Prosecute someone for having a P2P client running, but only downloading/serving legal programs.

    Of course, IANAL, but I think the last case would be about 0.00001% of the cases.

    Kjella

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.

Working...