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Congress Asks Universities To Enforce Copyrights 451

Posted by chrisd
from the college-adminstrators-as-cops dept.
Wes Felter writes "In CNet, Declan McCullagh writes that members of Congress are concerned that universities are not enforcing the 1997 No Electronic Theft Act which made simple copyright violations into a federal crime. Should universities be responsible for tracking down illegal sharing on their networks? Will ISPs be next?"
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Congress Asks Universities To Enforce Copyrights

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  • leave them alone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:10AM (#5394963) Homepage Journal
    Universities have enough to deal with concerning their students, before they start wasting their money policing filesharing.

    Just let them teach the classes. Let the students worry about the law.(or lack thereof)
    • by ratamacue (593855) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:23AM (#5395030)
      I agreee. If the law cannot be enforced without coercing private organizations into becoming arms of government, than the law is not just in the first place.
      • by tuxedo-steve (33545) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:33AM (#5395475)
        I don't think that fact that a law is unenforcable by reasonable means necessarily implies that the law itself is unjust. It is only the actions taken by those attempting to enforce the law that are unjust.

        It could be said that a law that can only be enforced effectively through unjust means is inherently unjust itself, which I think is what you are saying. I don't think that this is the case: people do (and should) obey laws on an "honour system" basis, not just because there's a threat of punishment!

        The justness of a law hangs on a lot more than enforcability.
        • Re:leave them alone (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @11:48AM (#5396138)
          The justness of a law hangs on a lot more than enforcability.

          I'm not sure I agree. Please give an example of a just law that can only be enforced if people squeal on one another. For example, murder, would not qualify, because its enforcement does not rely on the fact that someone must report "I saw John kill Mary." But anything that you do in the privacy of your home that does not produce a victim would pretty much fit the unjust laws we're talking about. The only means of enforcement is to invade my privacy.

          They'll get the ISP to enforce it, so I'll just start encrypting my filesharing. Etc. It will just escalate. It will ultimately depend on one party reporting that they observed another party doing it. Like photocopying from a library book for a report to get you thrown in the slammer.

          The justness of a law hangs on a lot more than enforcability.

          I don't agree. The enforcability hangs on the justness. Any just law can be enforced. Many unjust laws can be enforced. But there are, IMHO, my whole argument here, NO just laws that cannot be enforced.

          We're going to make it illegal to have oral sex in your own bedroom. To protect public morality, of course. How can such a law be enforced?
        • by kfg (145172)
          The Fourth Ammendment to the Constitution has as one of its *overt* purposes the prevention of enforcment of certain unjust laws.

          The framers knew that sooner or later the government would pass legislation that would be offensive to *the people* in some way because it flew in the face of the American concepts of freedom and individual rights.

          If it isn't possible to search people's homes or sieze their papers and property than that entire class of "criminal behaviour" ( like having a meeting about overthrowing the government by force or some such) that took place in one's home and was inherently undetectable from without the home (thus giving your wife a black eye doesn't fall into the catagory) would be unenforcable.

          That's the *point* of the bloody thing.

          You are right, laws should be obeyed on the "honor system." That's also the bloody point. The entire idea that laws should just be calmly obeyed like sheep being led to the slaughter house is so entirely unamerican it's pathetic.

          The American philosophy of law, the Constitution which it spawned, The Federalist Papers written in support of that Constitution and the next 100 years of American literary, legal and cultural history support the idea that Americans can and will simply ingnore unjust laws, and if necessary take up arms against them if they are not changed.

          Laws are not the will of the people. Laws are the are the will of a few men on Capital Hill.

          The people will have a voice, sooner or later. God help the men on Capital Hill if they don't listen soon enough.

          And then God help us all.

          KFG
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:40AM (#5395148)
      I'm a system administrator at a medium-sized state University. If my superiors were to tell me to start policing file sharing, I'd probably have no time left to actually maintain and improve the systems, as well as moral issues with violating user privacy.

      We very quickly nail people who are sucking down ridiculous amounts of bandwidth sharing files, simply because they are slowing down the network connection for everyone else. However, we specifically make a point not to police traffic based on its content. Respecting students' privacy it utmost in our philosophy.

      Hopefully I won't be getting orders on high to start inspecting traffic for media sharing. It's something that I, as a sysadmin, would really hate to do. Law enforcement is the job of the police, not sys-admins.

      -Z
    • Re:leave them alone (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Organic_Info (208739)
      Your right the Uni's do have enough to be doing without policing thier networks - but then perhaps no one would mind a law enforcement agency monitoring the network......but then the privacy argument starts and "Help help my rights are being infringed upon blah blah blah".

      At the end of the day if people can get away with it they will some one must enforce the law - you have two choices:
      1) Do it in house
      2) Have the government/police do it for you

      What would you prefer?
      .
      • Re:leave them alone (Score:3, Informative)

        by EzInKy (115248)
        At the end of the day if people can get away with it they will some one must enforce the law - you have two choices:
        1) Do it in house
        2) Have the government/police do it for you


        Actually there is a third...change the stupid law that people find so repugnant that they choose to ignore it.
    • Re:leave them alone (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Big Mark (575945)
      What my uni does is this: They ignore everything until you go over an unknown bandwith cap (best estimate's > 10 GB per month). Then they fine you fifty quid (~75USD).

      My uni is tiny by UK standards but even so our ITS department is overstretched and underfunded. Fortunately, Congress can't reach us directly... yet.

      -Mark
    • by Didion Sprague (615213) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @11:15AM (#5395851)
      I'm not sure why filesharing is any more of a problem on a university campus than, say, underage drinking or drug use. Universities do their best to deal with drug use, do their best to combat underrage drinking, but I don't see congress asking universities to do *more* than what's currently being done.

      Where's the Jack Valenti drug czar appealing to congress to close down potential "drug dens" on campuses? Where's the Hilary Rosen rape and violent assault czar lobbying congress to force all students to cease and desist from such behavior or face ten, twenty, fifty years in prison? Where's the outrage about heroin use on college campuses?

      All of which is to say: the laws are there, most folks are aware of the laws, universites make a good faith effort to enforce the laws. But I cannot in good conscience understand why filesharing -- filesharing! -- seems to be more important than preventing drug use, alcohol abuse, or violence on college campuses.

      Actually, I do understand. The answer is money. Corporations have such sway in American government and have the money to back up their big mouths that they've managed to convince to big-business suits in congress that sharing an MP3 is more vital than preventing rape.

      If those legal fucks spending money on filesharing initiatives would put *half* that money -- even a *tenth* of that money -- into rape and violence awareness programs on American college campuses then the quality of life would be immeasurably improved.

      • Its not. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tkrotchko (124118) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @12:11PM (#5396382) Homepage
        " I'm not sure why filesharing is any more of a problem on a university campus than, say, underage drinking or drug use."

        Its not any worse, its not really a problem except that it affects serious money interests.

        Love Stallman or hate him, but his rant on copyrights that he did a decade ago is so on the mark that its scary.

        Copyrights as they exist today can't be enforced in a connected age unless the government places serious roadblocks to a free society.

        A copyright or patent is a bargain between society and the creator. It is not an inherent right as many seem to think.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theeds (300421) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:11AM (#5394965) Homepage
    At my school off campus trading is something that's been actively looked down upon... however trading over the campus network is encouraged... I think if anything is going to happen a standard needs to be found first.
    • Put each of these scofflaws in prison. That would get all the un-Americans out of college and onto road crews where they belong. Or change the penalty to six years in the Marines. That would teach them respect for their betters.

      They should be using their computers to write papers about how the Music Industry is just standing up for the musicians. This law is philanthropy at its best.
    • Re:Yes, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scott1853 (194884)
      Your buddies in the college dorm telling you to leave your FTP server running 24 hours a day does not count as encouragement from the college administration the FBI, or the RIAA/MPAA, which are the ones who are going to make your life miserable if you're on or off campus.

      However, you should feel free to use that in your defense when they haul you into court. I'm sure you'll get a link on Fark with a "dumbass" tag next to it.
  • Why not? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Dont most universities already have a policy
    that internet access can only be used for academoc purposes? Ours does.
    that said, no one tried enforcing this yet.
    • by govtcheez (524087) <govtcheez03@hotmail.com> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:34AM (#5395107) Homepage
      If that's the case, most of the sites I visit will be classified as art sites, where I can truly appreciate the female form. Especially with another female form.
    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dr.Enormous (651727) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:42AM (#5395161)
      Well, my college only had a statement that basically said "don't commit fraud or hack anything using our resources".

      However, having a policy against something is not at all related to actively monitoring it. If you rent an apartment from me and the lease says "no dragging a keg inside and trashing the place", surely you'll agree that it's not my job (nor should it be) to install video cameras in the living room just to be sure. The same thing is true here: they can tell you not to share copyrighted files, but that shouldn't imply a responsibility to go through your shared files and determine which are copyright violations.

      Which is not to say it won't be their responsibility by the time the lawyers are done with them...
  • Don't worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustAnOtherCodeSerf (181281) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:12AM (#5394972)
    Not to worry... the thought police will be around to handle this sort of thing soon.
    • Not to worry... the thought police will be around to handle this sort of thing soon.

      This is becoming less and less of a joke, and it horrifies me.

      Look what the Department of "Justice" is doing [slashdot.org].

      Once DRM gets well established, it will be only a step away from the govt. being able examine anything on your computer, no questions asked. And that is frigteningly close to the Orwell's thought police.

      If you haven't yet, go read Stallman's a right to read [gnu.org]. On second thoughts, why bother? We'll be experiencing it in a few years anyway.

    • you are right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by twitter (104583) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @12:55PM (#5396916) Homepage Journal

      Thought crime is being defined as we watch. Witness this horror:

      Members of the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees copyright law said at a hearing that peer-to-peer piracy was a crime under a 1997 federal law, but universities continued to treat file-swapping as a minor infraction of campus disciplinary codes.

      "If on your campus you had an assault and battery or a murder, you'd go down to the district attorney's office and deal with it that way," said Rep. William Jenkins, R-Tenn.

      Yes, Mr. Jenkins really compared sharing music to murder as moral equivalents requiring similar responses. This is a large step above the usual loaded language of "piracy". Equating the two actions morally represents the destruction of morals and replaces them with laws guided by self interest rather than moral sense. The punishments are equivalent too. The average murder or rape conviction gets you five year in jail. Violating the oxymoronically named NET act will get you five yars as well. That is the essence of thoughtcrime. Orwel's nightmare society had no laws, as all that was demanded was strict obedience in word, thought and deed. The punishment for violating the one law in any way was, of course, the same. This is very distrubing.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bendebecker (633126) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:14AM (#5394980) Journal
    Maybe the university administrators have more important things to do (like, say, running a university) than hunting down students dling mp3's. Maybe congress doesn't understand that some of us have REAL jobs that require more than going around and kissing other people's asses.
    • Re:Maybe (Score:2, Funny)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286)
      Maybe the university administrators have more important things to do

      Actually, I would have thought it was the students who had more important things to do. Not to get all "back in my day" here on y'all, but how do kids today find the time for all this MP3 crap after handling the books, beer, and babes?

      I'm here to save you from a life of bitter regret: You have the rest of your lives to "trade" music, guys, but there is only a narrow window of opportunity for kegs and co-eds!
    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GammaTau (636807) <jni@iki.fi> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:39AM (#5395139) Homepage Journal

      Maybethe university administrators have more important things to do (like, say, running a university) than hunting down students dling mp3's.

      Recently there was a story about spammers using students as relays [slashdot.org]. If it was up to me, I'd say that the university administrators should spend time hunting the spammers.

      The biggest problem, from the perspective of law, is that no one but very few people care about illegal filesharing. If I start sharing files illegally from my home computer, it's not like anyone would care (with the exception of a few companies the media giants fund). If I started sending spam, I'd be having hard time trying to keep my connection to the net because there are people who would immediately try to trace and report my actions. Illegal filesharing is not frowned upon like most other crimes are. That's a fundamental problem that all the anti-p2p measures have failed to address. If they are serious about fighting illegal filesharing, they need to get the support of netizens and so far "they" have done nothing but stomp on our rights and values.

  • Responsibility? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by B5_geek (638928) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:14AM (#5394981)

    Why is there always an assumption of guilt when dealing with file sharing?
    This type of draconian heavy-handed measure is an insult. Why is the burben of proof on the individual and not the government?

    • Re:Responsibility? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ed Avis (5917)
      Because if the files you were exchanging were legitimate, you wouldn't need to use peer-to-peer systems like Gnutella, Freenet etc etc, which add a lot of inefficiency just to make it harder to find the source of a file. If what you are sending weren't in some way illegal, you would just stick it on a web page.

      There is the possibility that peer-to-peer can prevent Slashdotting by using bandwidth in different places rather than all at a central server, but I find it hard to imagine that students using P2P are doing so out of the goodness of their hearts to cut their university's bandwidth bill.
      • Re:Responsibility? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Thats bullshit, It can also offload downloads from sites that use p2p links, shareaza can be set to be ur default download manager.

        Here is a size 9 spoon to remove ur cranial lobe from ur anal cavity.
      • Re:Responsibility? (Score:2, Informative)

        by B5_geek (638928)
        Yes it is inefficent to use P2P, but if you don't have a web/ftp server running then it becomes much easier just to load up a P2P client.
      • Re:Responsibility? (Score:5, Informative)

        by SIGBUS (8236) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:27AM (#5395055) Homepage
        Because if the files you were exchanging were legitimate, you wouldn't need to use peer-to-peer systems like Gnutella, Freenet etc etc, which add a lot of inefficiency just to make it harder to find the source of a file. If what you are sending weren't in some way illegal, you would just stick it on a web page.

        Not necessarily. Consider etree [etree.org], for instance. Etree specializes in trading live music from trade-friendly bands such as the Grateful Dead and its sucessors, Phish, etc. However, etree trades involve lossless formats such as FLAC or Shorten, which take far more bandwidth than MP3 or Ogg Vorbis.

        FTP and Web servers serving these files tend to be overloaded, so a peer-to-peer solution such as BitTorrent [bitconjurer.org] can be very handy for such trading.

      • Because if the files you were exchanging were legitimate, you wouldn't need to use peer-to-peer systems like Gnutella, Freenet etc etc, which add a lot of inefficiency just to make it harder to find the source of a file. If what you are sending weren't in some way illegal, you would just stick it on a web page.

        There is the possibility that peer-to-peer can prevent Slashdotting by using bandwidth in different places rather than all at a central server, but I find it hard to imagine that students using P2P are doing so out of the goodness of their hearts to cut their university's bandwidth bill.


        Seriously, most P2P *transfers* are directly peer-to-peer, just look up the IP. If they used HTTP servers, how would I know of them? Portscan? And how would I find a file in an easy way? An HTTP site doesn't have to have any index (think directory trees) or search box, should I spider all directories and make my own search tool?

        The entire clue-stick is that you're taking a bunch of *peers*, each hosting their own share, and it'll appear as one big "server" you can search. The only real issue is file integrity, unless you have a checksum you can trust to go by (as opposed to normally you'd trust the download location, like e.g. tucows), you don't know that you're getting a virus / trojan / spam / fake / corrupt / whatever version and not the real thing.

        And judging by some internal network shares / P2P systems, you're just plain wrong. If they downloaded all of that off some central server, it would be literally killed. It'd have to server out gigabits *per second* to keep up with the total trading of a huge bunch of peers. But one thing I'll give you - it's not out of the goodness of their hearts.

        Kjella
      • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:27AM (#5395442)
        Because if the files you were exchanging were legitimate, you wouldn't need to use peer-to-peer systems like Gnutella, Freenet etc etc, which add a lot of inefficiency just to make it harder to find the source of a file. If what you are sending weren't in some way illegal, you would just stick it on a web page.

        You have just demonstrated a woeful lack of understanding of the fundamental technologies, both of client server architectures (upon which ftp and web servers are based) and peer-to-peer technologies such as gnutella, freenet, etc.

        In a peer to peer environment, the more demand a particular file has, the more widely it becomes available, and the quicker it is to download. This is precisely the opposite of the "slashdot effect" so commonly seen on traditional, client/server setups (such as virtually every web page on the planet). Debian's apt-get and Gentoo's emerge would both benefit greatly, in terms of performance, by distributing their files (source tarballs, debs, ebuilds) via a peer-to-peer architecture rather than the ftp, html, and rsync client/server architectures they use now. Indeed, once keyrings and GPG signing has been implimented, they are likely to move to this, both for redundancy and performance purposes.

        Properly designed peer to peer is the future of legitimate filesharing, as it removes one of the critical bottlenecks that has plagued the internet since its inception. Whether the specific implimentation is gnutella or, with our current jackbooted thugs in Washington, more and more likely Freenet, isn't really all that relevant. Performance requirements and the need for robustness and redundancy are already leading more and more so-called mainstream uses of peer-to-peer technology.

        Oh, and by the way, TCP/IP is fundamentally a peer-to-peer platform, so next time you hear some fat, filthy rich, and corrupt media moghul talk about the evils of peer-to-peer technology, likely in the context of lobbying congress to ban it outright, keep in mind that they are talking about banning the fundamental design of the internet protocols themselves.
    • Re:Responsibility? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr_Silver (213637)
      Why is there always an assumption of guilt when dealing with file sharing?

      Probably because when you search places like Kazaa, the chances of finding any software, images or music that isn't copyrighted is extremely low.

      Of course, just because of this doesn't mean that there should be this assumption of guilt, however unfortunately more and more these days it's tending towards the "guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent" way of thinking.

      • Re:Responsibility? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by budgenator (254554)
        Kazaa, the chances of finding any software, images or music that isn't copyrighted is extremely low.
        My boss is a real KaZZaa fan so I jumped on a work machine that had it loaded, signed up and searched for some stuff to try. After finding some files that seemed amaturish by file names, I down loaded and looked at them, most were obivously illegal stuf and went to delete them and discoved that someone had already uploaded from the computer so I had become a NET act felon. there didn't seem to be anyway to tell if a file was copyrighted or not from the interface.
  • by Hittite Creosote (535397) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:14AM (#5394984)
    "If on your campus you had an assault and battery or a murder, you'd go down to the district attorney's office and deal with it that way," said Rep. William Jenkins, R-Tenn.

    Either someone is taking the mickey, or this politician really needs to get a sense of proportion.

    • "If on your campus you had an assault and battery or a murder, you'd go down to the district attorney's office and deal with it that way," said Rep. William Jenkins, R-Tenn.

      Either someone is taking the mickey, or this politician really needs to get a sense of proportion.

      He has the right perspective. It's a federal offense, where simple assault is not, so it's more serious. He's simply responding to that.

      It's the law that has the wrong perspective. This shouldn't be a federal offense at all. Is any reasoning behind this Act, or have they done away with that completely, and just consider corporate sponsorship now?

      • IANAL, but whether something violates federal or state law isn't an indicator of the severity of the offense, but rather the body of government that has jurisdiction. Copyright is something that is more in the area of interstate commerce, thus it is more easily managed at the federal level, as opposed to labor standards or gun control, which is more local in nature.
    • Proportion (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cameleon (149744)

      Well, given that, according to the article, you can get 5 years in prison for sharing files, I'd say the law considers it pretty serious.

      I wonder what would happen when a college student is jailed for 5 years for sharing his cd-collection over the internet. Would there be massive demonstrations, and public outrage, or would everyone still be either indifferent, or posting about it on Slashdot?

      • Re:Proportion (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:32AM (#5395090) Homepage
        the problem with that is the utter laziness and apathy in the general american public.

        College studen get's 5 years in a federal prison for violating a copyright. 99.997% of the american public could care less. It's the reverse NIMBY... or it wasn't in my back yard so why should I care.

        The local University here took a poll of 1000 people for a project.. and over 78% did not care about copyrights and though that current laws were good. while the same group had a 95% of not knowing WHAT the current laws even were. (First question asked, and then second question asked.)

        Hell if people cant be bothered to learn about basic laws that affect their day to day lives, you cant expect them to care at all about some college punk kid who's life is getting completely ruined for no reason what-so-ever.

        welcome to america.. we have so many laws we can put you in prison for a long time for any reason we want.... but if you want to get off light.. kill or rape someone... those are our lower crimes.
        • by TheMidget (512188)
          welcome to america.. we have so many laws we can put you in prison for a long time for any reason we want.... but if you want to get off light.. kill or rape someone... those are our lower crimes.

          Just kill the RIAA goon that caught you sharing the files... you'll get to do less prison time, and you've made the world a better place too!

    • by arvindn (542080) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:30AM (#5395083) Homepage Journal
      Absolutely.

      This is a serious issue. We are not talking about a single misguided politician here. This is the result of an insidious, deliberate, and concerted effort by the *AA to abuse language in order to confuse people's sense of proportion and their sense of ethics. False analogies, shock-treatment and abuse of language are very effective propaganda tools, and that is what we are seeing here.

      See what RMS has to say (from http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html) :

      Publishers often refer to prohibited copying as ``piracy.'' In this way, they imply that illegal copying is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnaping and murdering the people on them.

      If you don't believe that illegal copying is just like kidnaping and murder, you might prefer not to use the word ``piracy'' to describe it. Neutral terms such as ``prohibited copying'' or ``unauthorized copying'' are available for use instead. Some of us might even prefer to use a positive term such as ``sharing information with your neighbor.''

      Fight this language FUD! Refuse to use FUD terms. Read the above mentioned article on gnu.org and point people to it. It can go a long way in putting things in true perspective and controlling the power of the *AA.

  • Pfft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dolo666 (195584) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:15AM (#5394988) Journal
    And now instead of not getting to graduate because of thousands of dollars in library fines, students get to be ousted for copyright infringement.

    Ironic, however, this connection between P2P and a Library. Wha?
  • Here's an idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swordboy (472941) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:16AM (#5394993) Journal
    Create a P2P *wireless* sharing device. Just load it up with stuff and go cruise around at your favorite public sharing area... I'm sure that we'll see this in campus yards as soon as students lose the right to steal their music and other stuff. They'll just create their own network to share stuff on...
  • by Cognito (101290) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:17AM (#5394995)
    Educational institutions are no more responsible for student file swapping than they are for student drinking and driving. "Loco parentis" is NOT the responsibility of educational institutions, thoght many folks think they are and should be, including the university administrative class known as "Diaper Deans"

    Students are adults and responsible for their own behavior.
    • Actually, there are cases before the courts (in Canada anyway) that are challenging this. If a person gets into an acident when drinking and driving, it is being argued that the place that provided the drinks is at fault. That is, it becomes the responsibility of the bar, the restaurant, the host of a private party, whatever, to take away your keys.

      So, by extension, if you provide the means to make illegal file sharing possible, you also have the responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen.

      Frankly, I don't have a problem with this except for the fact that it can't be done. The whole debate around illegal file sharing (note the word "illegal") isn't whether or not it should be legal, but how to stop it. I can't look at an mp3 file and tell whether or not it is a legal copy. I don't expect universities can either.
  • by saphena (322272) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:19AM (#5395000) Homepage
    The NET Act [usdoj.gov] asserts criminality in the event of deliberate money making or valuable materials copying as opposed to simple breach of copyright.
    Is Congress asserting that universities are overlooking that or merely that copyright breaches are possible and not investigated?
  • by Scott Hussey (599497) <sthussey+slashdot.gmail@com> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:19AM (#5395005)
    I went to the University of Missouri - Columbia which suffered from severe bandwidth shortages due to file sharing. So they implemented some traffic fingerprinting technology (PacketHound [palisadesys.com]) to keep the file swappers from eating all the bandwidth at prime time, then let them play during the middle of the night. I suppose similar technology could be used to totally disallow file sharing, as I think it has to be all or nothing. You cannot really watch each file traded and then check for copyrights.
  • If the government wants Universities to start cracking down on Copyright infringement, or ISP's for that matter. They should either give them money/grants to fund the resources necessary to do this or send them a couple of people trained on how to do this.

    I always thought it was the governments job to enforce the laws - not public/private organizations.
    • Come on! If you can't get the government to enforce your store-bought laws, why would you buy it in the first place?

      In other words, yours is a very pretty thought...that has nothing to do with reality.
  • Universities??!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:21AM (#5395015) Homepage Journal
    Wait a minute...

    If they think that ".edu" network admins (who are often students themselves) will enforce stupid RIAA rules, they are, in effect, asking the foxes to guard the henhouse!

    Seriously, I remember, at my old university [no names given, for obvious reasons] that the admins used to have close to 50+GB of mp3s archive... =)

    This being said, this has also been the case in the past 3 companies I work with... Maybe this is the solution to piracy: ask that kind of admins to take care of the piracy problem... then, turn around and pretend the problem has been solved! Case closed! =)

  • by LordNor (605816) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:22AM (#5395021)
    At our school, we seem to have someone that carefully watches everything. This man must spend hours a day trying to stop people from using Kazaa and other P2P programs. Everyonce in a while he'll get an e-mail from the MPAA stating that someone has been sharing a movie that's not even in the theater yet and they'll sue the school if it's not stopped. As long as you have an open network, people are going to find ways to share files. Putting pressure on the University is just going to make life a lot more difficult for administration and for students.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:22AM (#5395026) Homepage Journal
    Once they are forced to monitor, they will be legally accountable for any 'leaks' or 'actions' they don't catch. As well as the end user of course.

    Its a dangerous thing to hold accountable 'carriers' of content that flows across them..

    Whets next, the phone company? The US Postal service? FedEx? A gun store? Wal-Mart?

    How about AMEX when someone uses a purchase for illegal activities...
  • OSS Concerns? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Asprin (545477) <(gsarnold) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:24AM (#5395037) Homepage Journal

    Under a 1997 law called the No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act), it is a federal crime to willfully share copies of copyrighted products such as software, movies or music with anyone if the value of the work exceeds $1,000 or if the person hopes to receive files in return. Violations are punishable by one year in prison, or if the value tops $2,500, "not more than five years" in prison.

    I hope they mean 'value' as in 'sticker price' and not 'value' as in 'worth money' because Mozilla alone has saved me **AT** **LEAST** $1000 in therapy and counseling over pop-up ads, spyware and stupid-ass animations so its overall value is probably much higher than $0.

    What about other OSS like Enterprise RedHat? Can't you install that on a bunch of boxen for the after you pay the $1500 price tag?

  • Just to be safe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shoppa (464619) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:27AM (#5395059)
    For the administration or IT department to enforce "no digital copying of copyright materials" is difficult, because it's not always clear what is copyright and what isn't. That *.mp3 file might be a music student's solo performance in a Beethoven - or it might be the latest hit tune from Sony or other RIAA memory. That text file might be a term paper - or it might be instructions on how to install DeCSS. That *.jpg picture might be an art project - or it could be a frame from some pirated movie. That *.c file might be source code for a first-year programming class - or it might be ripped off from Microsoft's driver database.

    Just to be safe, college administrations have to assume that all files are copyright by Hollywood and the RIAA. No original work should be done on college campuses. It's just too risky - when big business, backed by jackbooted government thugs, will question every file that every student has. Instead, colleges should buy all course materials straight from Hollywood and the RIAA, with (of course) Digital Rights Management software on every computer giving big business the right to monitor everything that goes on.

    • we get that here at my college too. Occasionally the NT admins go through all of the student's network drive space looking for *.mp3 or other digital media files. If they even find a match for *.mp3 they throw a fit and deactivate the account.

      It's guilty before proven innocent, what's to say that a music major can't put his master's work on his network drive in mp3 format. They don't, however, search for *.wav, but anybody who uses Waves and tries to keep any free space on their drive is just retarted
  • Already Started (Score:3, Interesting)

    by da3dAlus (20553) <dustin.grauNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:28AM (#5395062) Homepage Journal
    According to a recent article in the newspaper at my former college [thesting.org], they've already recieved letters from Peachnet (keepers of the 'net connection). I heard rumors for years about FBI raids in the dorms, and almost yearly people would go in a panic backing up harddrives and taking their computers home for the week. Looks like the threat is finally real. Not that I'm saying anyone was actually guilty...I'm just saying :)
  • quick answer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by REBloomfield (550182) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:28AM (#5395063)
    yes, they should be clamping down.

    As an edu admin myself, I have a repsonsibility for the content of my networks, which includes those nodes attached to them.

    The same way that i am liable for illegal use of unlicensed software, not the premises. (Bizarre, and a pain, hence why I'm a tad zealous...)

  • hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by a8f11t18 (614700) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:33AM (#5395095)
    every time there's a story like this, someone will
    come in and say that filesharing has legitimate
    purposes as well etc etc..

    BUT.. fact is.. the vast majority of, and I mean vast, files
    on p2p are illegal.

    Now.. consider this.. say there was this little bar.. where 5% drank beer and were jolly happy.. and the rest, 95%, were trading illegally stolen properties like furniture and microwave ovens and whatever.. and they were doing it casually, and everyone in the entire city knew about it.. it was widely known in every media like internet, tv etc.. so what do you think the police would have done? Exactly.. and it would have hurt those 5% who actually did what you're supposed to do in a bar.

    Would this imply that all bars should be shut down because people could do illegal stuff there? Hardly.. BUT.. if there is a place that is known for illegal stuff, even though it also has legal uses, shold it not be shut down?

    So basically.. it is easy to observe p2p networks.. those who are legal, should be let alone.. those which are mostly illegal, should be shut down.. it doesn't matter..

    and in fact, the vast majority of p2p networks are mostly illegal in their contents. Because let's face it, there is simply NO WAY the majority of files on big p2p networks WON'T be illegal.. you could say it's the right thing to do to give humans the benefit of doubt, but it is a simple facet of human nature that if people can share illegal digital files on p2p networks, they WILL do so.. and it is also so in real life.

    If 9 out of 10 people in a place are doing criminal stuff, surely that should be enough to shut down the place, even if it would hurt the rest 10%.. this is how it works elsewhere, why shouldn't it be the same for p2p?
    • If 9 out of 10 people in a place are doing criminal stuff, surely that should be enough to shut down the place, even if it would hurt the rest 10%.. this is how it works elsewhere, why shouldn't it be the same for p2p?

      RIAA: "There's a bunch of cars speeding down highway 45, all other highways are ok."
      Cops: "Okay, we've blocked highway 45 of traffic"
      RIAA: "There's a bunch of cars speeding down highway 34, all other highways are ok."
      Cops: "Okay, we've blocked highway 34 of traffic"
      RIAA: "There's a bunch of cars speeding down highway 66, all other highways are ok."
      Cops: "Okay, we've blocked highway 66 of traffic"
      ....repeat ad nauseum
      Legal car drivers: Why are all the highways blocked?

      You can block a P2P place, shuffle the people around a bit. But as long as there are millions of people that want to trade P2P, they'll just move to some other net, unless you want to shut down the whole infrastructure (read: Internet).

      Kjella
  • I can hunt down those responsible for stealing my car!

  • Foxes and henhouses. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by puregen1us (648116) <alex@alexwasse[ ]n.com ['rma' in gap]> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:35AM (#5395113)
    Any filesharing servers that were on our networks protected them selves with heavy logging. The computing department became surprisingly lenient when faced with evidence that the largest downloaders were on their staff. Of course our esteemed leader was less than competent, not even know which official servers were running. Foxes guarding hen houses is not such a bad idea. They will protect them for their own and they will know best how to. Not only that but i imagine that they are heavy net users and will throttle filesharing during normal hours for their benefit as well as other users. The best person to see if a system is vulnerable is a good cracker... employ them instead of fighting them.
  • No one can and no one will force people find ways to share whartever they want. It might sound either as a truism or just hope, but that's what's gonna happen. Wheather someone wants it or not, they are allways going to be people able to circumvent any control measure, it is the human nature. And if this is going to be free or at low cost that will mean popularity...
  • by wytcld (179112) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:37AM (#5395124) Homepage
    "If on your campus you had an assault and battery or a murder, you'd go down to the district attorney's office and deal with it that way," said Rep. William Jenkins, R-Tenn.

    Colleges will generally go as far as possible to avoid bringing in the police. Cynically, it's bad public relations to be connected with crime. It's only been in recent years that most campuses have been shamed into encouraging rapes to be reported. Rapes are the obvious case where we should want the police in. But what about gay sex in the states where that's still illegal? What about kids having a beer? Smoking a joint?

    The law is traditionally less restrictive on the privileged - trusts them to have a native sense of good that may be more refined that that in the code books. Thus Geo. Bush Jr., faced with a law that said he had to serve in the military, got into the National Guard and got away with skipping duty - didn't even show up for that - for a year. Okay, so there are times where this exception is regrettable. But his grandfather stole the skull of an Indian child from a cemetary as a Skull & Bones prank. There are pretty serious laws about this, but they weren't applied - he was a privileged student.

    Still, the law is a regrettable intrusion that should only be applied when human beings are not behaving themselves - when real harm is being done to someone other than themselves. Busting a student for drinking a beer or sharing a song does more harm than good to people. Beer and songs are both positive things, on the whole. And anyone who has behaved and studied well enough to get into college should be trusted to be not as in need of supervision by the law as someone who had neither the internal discipline nor intelligence to get there.

    A society overly concerned with enforcing laws - especially laws which serve business but not human interests - is violating the fundamental right of humans to live a good life as they see fit. Policing, in itself, is not a virtue, and is a value only to dictators.

  • Ludicrous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wfrp01 (82831) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:37AM (#5395125) Journal
    So university administrators should be held reponsible for the actions of their clients? Among other things, remember, students are not (typically) employees.

    If this flies, then I think members of Congress should also be held personally responsible for any and all undesireable actions taken by any resident of the United States. Obviously they could be doing more to prevent criminal behaviour. Because they are not, because criminals still roam the streets, they should be held liable.

    Can anyone point to a good place to read more about all the idiot ideas floating around in Congress? I'd like to get a better handle on who the real bozos are who float this kind of stupid shit.

  • my problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) <`mrpuffypants' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:38AM (#5395131)
    I'm sitting here wading through a mountain of requests from the media companies while I work at my campus helpdesk. They demand that we "deactivate their accounts" and "block their IP addresses" immediately or face punishment ourselves.

    Here's a copy of the email that they send:

    --

    RE: Unauthorized Distribution of the Copyrighted Motion Picture Entitled
    Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    Dear xxxxxx:

    We are writing this letter on behalf of New Line Cinema, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P. ("New Line").

    As you may know, New Line is the holder of rights under copyright, including exclusive distribution rights, in and to the motion picture(s) listed above.

    No one is authorized to perform, exhibit, reproduce, transmit, or otherwise distribute the above-mentioned work(s) without the express written permission of New Line, which permission New Line has not granted to 0.0.0.0.

    We have received information that an individual has utilized the above-referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of the above-mentioned work through a "peer-to-peer" service.

    The attached documentation specifies the location on your network where the infringement occurred, the number of repeat violations recorded at this specific location, as well as any available identifying information.

    The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations.

    Since you own this IP address, we request that you immediately do the following:

    1) Disable access to the individual who has engaged in the conduct described above; and
    2) Terminate any and all accounts that this individual has through you.

    On behalf of Warner Bros., owner of the exclusive rights to the copyrighted material at issue in this notice, we hereby state, pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 512, that we have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by Warner Bros., its respective agents, or the law.

    Also pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we hereby state that we believe the information in this notification is accurate, and, under penalty of perjury, that MediaForce is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights being infringed as set forth in this notification.

    Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email should you have any questions.

    We appreciate your assistance and thank you for your cooperation in this matter. In your future correspondence with us, please refer to Case ID xxxxxxx.

    Your prompt response is requested.
    --

    Methinks that this mediaforce place needs to be firebombed. Take a look at their website and you'll see some pretty creepy things that they do, like 24/7 scanning of P2P, IRC, FTP, and other networks for copyrighted works. Worst of all, they reinject corrupt copies of the data back into the networks to much downloads up for the users.

    If I worked there I'd just go home and slit my wrists every damn day
    • Re:my problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Frater 219 (1455) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:04AM (#5395284) Journal
      RE: Unauthorized Distribution of the Copyrighted Motion Picture Entitled Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

      The people sending these notices have no idea whether the files are there on your student's system or not.

      How do I know? I'm a security technician / systems admin for a research institution. We don't have many people trying to use bootleg file sharing programs -- and our networks guys block some of the more common ones. We still get these notices from MPAA and BSA claiming that we have everything from movies to office software up for download on KaZaA.

      No, that's not the funny part. The funny part is that the IP addresses given in these threats, 80% of the time, are IP addresses that do not have computers on them ... and never have. We have a few subnets still reserved for future expansion, never been used ... and these are where the copyright terrorists claim we have bootleg files. (The other 20% of the time, the addresses exist, but they still don't have any files on them.)

      As far as I can tell, somewhere out there is a glitch in a KaZaA implementation that is listing our disused addresses as hot places to get movies ... and the terrorists are believing it, without even checking. That's right. They don't download the file from your student's system and then send the threat. They see a link to that system, do nothing whatsoever to verify it, and send the terrorist threat.

      And as far as I'm concerned, that's exactly what it is: a terrorist threat, a threat of harm (specifically, abuse of the legal system, spurious prosecution), by a non-governmental group, in order to scare people into going along with a radical political movement.

      If you bust your students, the terrorists have already won.

    • Unfortunately I don't have the list with me but someone posted a good list on /. awhile ago. IT's a pretty comprehensive list of all the IPs used by all the scanning companies (private companies that have magically become cops) for the media industry. Just deny any any for all those IP addressess. At this point, you are under no legal obligation to let them look at your network, so why allow them to?
  • We've been very fortunate that ISPs haven't been bending easily to help track and control copyright enfringement. But there's a good chance the ISPs won't stay out of it forever. I'm hoping wireless mesh networks take off. Eventually it could mean no more ISPs at all. Buy your hardware and you're in. The next time we can worry a little less is when there's no service provider needed to wire us into the internet.
  • The thing is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NetGyver (201322) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:40AM (#5395144) Journal
    Since when were universities law-enforcement? However it's not surprising that congress would be riding schools about it. After all, someone's probably lining their pockets to do it.

    Breaking a law, is breaking a law. The responsibility of enforcing laws falls on law enforcement, like the police, FBI, you get the picture. Schools have a job to teach their students, keep them fed and safe. Not to be baby-sitters and watchdogs for the government.

    The irony is that student tuition is income for the schools. They use it to pay teachers, get books, computer labs...and bandwidth as well.
    A lot of schools already took voluntary mesurements to limit the p2p bandwidth hogging. This i can understand.

    What exactly is the incentive for universities to become the copyright police? What are they getting out of this? As far as I can tell, there just getting bitched at by the RIAA and congress. Unless either one of them gives scools financial support to aid in napping copyright offenders, there isn't any incentive for them. What are they going to do? Take schools to court because there's songs floating around their networks?

    Some things cease to amaze me. Other things however, never cease.

  • We have universities actually giving out things like ShareScan [sharescan.net] (e.g. university of Toronto). At McMaster they give out ResX, a KaZaA clone that works within the university only (to only take down the LAN, not the pipe to the net at least :D ). In fact of most of the universities I've visited (I'm in grade 13 getting ready to go next year) the universities have been basically anti-file-sharing in press releases but in reality very much pro-file-sharing. Whatever keeps the students happy I guess.
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:41AM (#5395153) Journal
    Certainly, I think it's important for universities to put an end to the free-flow of information through their campuses. I mean, imagine the damage caused to society if universities just flagrantly allowed students to share intellectual property without a whim for who owns it! What a disaster it could be, as profit margins begin from students acquiring someone else's IP. I cannot imagine anything worse.
  • by zerus (108592) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:42AM (#5395160) Homepage
    There are murders, rapists, and other offenders of such unspeakable crimes walking the streets in our country, yet a college student downloading "Margarita Ville" is a criminal that deserves to be arrested for breaking a copyright law. What the hell is going through congress' minds? We have a budget crisis enough as it is and we can't even rid our streets of homeless people but we'll spend millions of dollars protecting an already overly-wealthy industry from an 18 year old kid that just wants to listen to a song? Where are the priorities in this country?
  • Don't worry. Palladium will come along and solve all of your 'fair use' problems.
  • by N8F8 (4562) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:43AM (#5395170)
    Just cut out the middleman. The government wants someone else to do the law enforcement? Deputize the Netwoirk Admins...Uzi and pocket protector snandard equipment.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:48AM (#5395195)


    What? Merely a "federal crime", and not an act of terrorism yet?

  • by EnlightenmentFan (617608) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:49AM (#5395198) Homepage Journal
    An impressive display of moral outrage--but--

    Why are they screaming about P2P? What about radar detectors? Radar detectors are there to help drivers break laws--they have no other purpose. Breaking the speed-limit laws makes a driver much more likely to kill someone.

    Unfortunately, people killed by speeding drivers don't make campaign contributions. File-sharing hasn't caused any deaths that I know about...

    • While this may be the unpopular flip side to take. Alcohol kills FAR more people and is estimated to be a 300% greater insurance/health related problem than cigarettes. However, Budweiser has one of the largest sponsorship/lobby budgets in the world. I'm not sure if per sale they took Nike or Coke over. I read a statistic (have to get my links down later) that 15 cents out of every Bud you buy is for lobby or advertising. That's cost to the company AND to you.

      I have yet to find a relationship or family that was killed by a smoking driver. (sure it's happened but not every 3 minutes like a DUI) I have yet to see a family torn apart and divorce because of Malboro. I know a lot that have personally because of Jack Daniel's.

      The point is. The RIAA has a lot of liberal friends. Both parties have cigarette but lately more alcohol friends. It's not what's best in politics and lawmaking, it's what's best for me. (ME = Senator/Representative/Lawyer)

    • Breaking the speed-limit laws makes a driver much more likely to kill someone.

      Umm, care to back that up? When all the traffic is doing 70 and the speed limit is 55, you're more likely to kill someone by doing the speed limit then by breaking it.

  • Yeah, I'm sure universities will be just as able to stop file sharing as they will with stopping pot and underaged alchohol use.

  • While I would say this kind of scenario is probably less than 1/2 of 1%, it is a case to study none the less.

    If P2P networks were not allowed for file sharing and music sharing, what's to say, I don't call home and ask my little junior high school brother to go into my room, grab a "Jimmy Buffet CD" and rip it then put all the songs on LimeWire, call them "Rus's Own Collection 1-15" - I go on LimeWire and get my OWN songs for a party that night. Who's to say, that just before my computer at home is scrapped that I want all the programs off of it. I own legitimate copies at home on my shelf in MY bedroom. I ask my Dad to hook up the hard drive into an external enclosure and put the files up on LimeWire for me to download?

    Further, what the RIAA (pushing this "mentioned in the article enforcement" with Congress) doesn't understand is, it's been college students who have SOLD MILLIONS of singles because of p2p. They saw the Mitsubishi Commercials, went on KAzaa or LimeWire or Napster and typed in "Mitsubishi commercial" not knowing the artist or title of the song. Less than a month goes by, each Mitsubishi commercial has been a #1 or top 5 hit. EVERY ONE. Mitsubishi even claims on their website selling 6 million singles for Telepopmusik (Just Breathe), Wiseguys (Start The Commotion), Dirty Vegas (Days Go By) - all three of those songs were almost certainly spread because of college P2P and then subsequent college Radio play. NO ONE (less than 5% of the US population) had ever heard of ANY of those groups I'm sure before the commercials and before p2p.

    Take the same example. I hear the Mitsubishi commercial, go into Tower or Sam Goody, or ANY music store. I say, "Do you have that song off the new Mitsubishi Commercial?" You get one of three replies: "Howzit go?" "Whozit by?" - "I don't watch TV or no I haven't seen it" - in any case even if they can gather what song it is, if it's a new Mitsubishi Commercial THEY NEVER HAVE IT!

    I downloaded, recently, the entire Chicago (movie) soundtrack. I wanted to see if it was better than the Broadway CD I own. It was. I went out and bought it. I can't sample like that in ANY store and none of the songs have been on the radio.

  • by warpSpeed (67927) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @09:52AM (#5395215) Homepage Journal
    Gee, let me see.. Where could you possibly find lots of bright, entrprising, "think out of the box" people, with some time on thier hands, who might be able to circumvent any measures taken to stop file sharing. Well I would have to say in dorm rooms.

    It will be a major uphill battle for institutes of higher education.

    If anything more creative and private means for file sharing will be born, accelerating the demise of the RIAA.

    Bring it on!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:14AM (#5395355)
    I work for end-user support for a major university. Just last week I had forwarded to me a letter advising us to police one of the computers on our network for a copyright violation. (By the IP addy and computer name, I think it's a student computer.) This proposal by congress just seems like part of a larger campaign of the various entertainment conglomerates. (Check out the letter; there's a real rogue's gallery there.)

    We still haven't found the computer in question. I'm still not sure what we would do about it if we found it. (Probably ask the user to delete it, or remove it from the network.)

    My question... this seems like something automatically generated. Is it? Have other universities received similar requests?

    ---

    From: MPAA@copyright.org [mailto:MPAA@copyright.org]
    Subject: Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Motion Pictures

    MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC.
    15503 VENTURA BOULEVARD
    ENCINO, CALIFORNIA 91436

    UNITED STATES
    Anti-Piracy Operations
    PHONE: (818) 728 - 8127
    Email: MPAA@copyright.org

    Friday, February 21, 2003

    Via Fax/Email

    RE: Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Motion Pictures
    Reference#: XXXXXX

    Dear abuse@XXXXXX.edu:

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) represents the following motion picture production and distribution companies:

    Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
    Disney Enterprises, Inc.
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
    Paramount Pictures Corporation
    TriStar Pictures, Inc.
    Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
    United Artists Pictures, Inc.
    United Artists Corporation
    Universal City Studios, LLLP
    Warner Bros., a Division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.

    We have received information that you are providing Internet access to and possibly hosting the above referenced internet site, which is offering downloads of copyrighted motion picture(s) including such
    title(s) as: ...

    The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations.

    We request that you immediately do the following:

    1) Disable access to this site;
    2) Remove this site from your server; and
    3) Take appropriate action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of Service Agreement.

    By copy of this letter, the owner of the above referenced Internet site and/or email account is hereby directed to cease and desist from the conduct complained of herein.

    On behalf of the respective owners of the exclusive rights to the copyrighted material at issue in this notice, we hereby state, pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 512, that the information in this notification is accurate and that we have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owners, their respective agents, or the law.

    Also pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we hereby state, under penalty of perjury, that we are authorized to act on behalf of the owners of the exclusive rights being infringed as set forth in this notification.

    Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email should you have any questions. Kindly include the above noted Reference # in the subject line of all email correspondence.

    We thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your prompt response is requested.

    Respectfully,

    Thomas Temple
    Director
    Worldwide Internet Enforcement

  • Universities != Cops (Score:5, Informative)

    by silvakow (91320) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:28AM (#5395448)
    Universities are for teaching students, and smaller universities don't have the resources to track down everyone who shares files accross a network. Larger universities don't have the resources because they're using their extra funds for research, which is far more valuable than cracking down on copyright law violations, especially from cracking down on the population that can't afford the copyrighted products in the first place.

    As a college student, I've probably gotten about 20 MP3s through filesharing services, bought three CDs for $50, and three DVDs for $60. All of those purchases were made my freshman year, when I thought my money would go far. It is also worth noting that I downloaded the MP3s from two out of the three CDs before I made the purchase. Since then, I haven't had money to purchase these items, and I don't think that my filesharing would do anything to discourage me from purchasing CDs, because I don't have the money to make the purchases in the first place.
  • Soon Impossible (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wfrp01 (82831) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:35AM (#5395490) Journal
    Has anyone in Congress considered the fact that enforcing such strictures will likely soon be impossible? Even now, the act of policing how people are using their computer would involve invading their privacy.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the natural evolution of this technology will be to add encryption. On top of that, perhaps use mix-net or other anonymizing technology. Run all the traffic over port 443. How do you police that? Bet you can't wait to tell your boss that the $50,000 you spent on a Packeteer is down the toilet. We read recently how Microsoft is collecting information about your computer every time you do an update. Perhaps we should pass legislation which mandates that people disclose the contents of their hard drives without warrent? Give me a break.
  • by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:45AM (#5395558) Homepage Journal
    If congress wants the law enforced then they need to fund the enforcement.. which they will never do..

    Sounds like RIAA has been checkmated
  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @10:52AM (#5395632) Homepage
    I don't know about the US, but here a recent study showed that 70% of the pupils here in Norway pirate music. Crossreference that with the number of broadband users and you realize that many of them download off dial-up connections (ISDN dial-up is common though). *When* everyone has broadband (and it's no doubt in my mind it'll become a commodity fairly fast), I think that will be pushing damn close to 100%.

    It's about as common as going 5 over the speed limit, and you're not a threat to your own, your passengers or public safety either. Sure, it's still illegal and you'll get a fine if they pull you over, but noone *cares*. Give it a few years and those'll be the voters and the ones in power. Somehow I don't think they'd want to do anything *effective* to stop it.

    Kjella
  • by EPossum (524149) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @11:03AM (#5395751)
    Speaking from having been there as an admin -- The suggestion that Universities should aggressively police themselves is idiotic. The official "unofficial" policy was and is don't look - don't tell. The second that you say that you will police the network and something slips by is the second that you become liable.
    At the university that I worked for the tech to person ratio was around 1 to 120 computers. At the time the tech was required to also keep several different servers running. In a college of about 500-600 computers we had 5 techs full time. We were required to manage Novell, NT, Unix servers, handle web page creation for classes, and early on handle student accounts (later taken away due to a central control issue at the university).
    Student web pages were particularly questioned -
    • pornographic content
    • selling things on university equipment
    • copyrighted materials
    • etc....
    Had I aggressively policed that then servers would have been down, labs would'nt have worked, professors couldn't have done their work, you name it and from the dean's office it would have looked like one of the techs was just sitting in his/her office doing nothing all day long.
    It has gotten better there btw. In addition to the 5 techs they now have 2 people whose sole job is to take care of servers (and figure out how to distribute/manage licensed software, and email complaints, and viruses, and step in and do regular tech stuff, and fix the occasional home users computer, etc)
    At the university level they throttled the bandwidth for those services down to a crawl - still workks just too slow to be usefull
    If they aren't aggressively policing their networks its because they kind of have their plates full.
    I highly suggest working for the tech department of any college/university even part time - they are almost always hiring and almost always need the help- great and diverse tech education!
  • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @11:46AM (#5396132) Journal

    The "No Electronic Theft Act" sets the penalties way to high for committing a crime which is way too widespread. It's like here in New Jersey where tailgating carries with it a penalty of 5 points (the same as reckless driving), and as such cops are very hesitant to give out tickets for it. Lower the penalties to something reasonable, and you'll see Universities reporting the crime more often.

  • by ftzdomino (555670) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @12:20PM (#5396459)
    Universities could start some sort of new "Campus Police" department whose job it would be to uphold the laws.
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @03:12PM (#5398700) Homepage
    It seems to me that universities are not in a position to determine all by themselves exactly what consitutes "illegal" sharing. The universities may very well have self-authorized enforcement rights over their own AUP, as they truly do own the campus network. Such an AUP might reasonably restrict P2P (mostly due to resource consumption), but that's a far cry from notifying law enforcement and/or the gods of copyright.

    I used to work in higher ed. If I was dealing with this issue today, I would include resource-wasting language in the AUP, naming P2P as an example. But tossing the resource squanderers would be as far as it goes until there are court orders, warrants, and/or subpeonas that specify precisely what to do and to whom. Appeasement of the copyright industry means the students all get pro bono lawyers from ACLU, and the universities get buried in lawsuits as well as a boatload of bad press. Higher education is the same as any other industry: take care of your customer or someone else will. RIAA is not a customer, so they are to be handled as a nuisance -- bare minimum legal cooperation.

    Universities (or other network owners for that matter) are in no position to determine the copyright validity of every file fragment in transit across their network. No one really is, which is why the music industry must adapt or die.

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