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File Sharing Remains a Perk of College Life 288

Posted by kdawson
from the ain't-nobody's-business-if-i-do dept.
An anonymous reader points out a story on the effect of a new law on file sharing on campuses — in short, it may not make much difference. "Students who are about to graduate often hand down the tricks of stealing music and movies to the next senior class. ... At the College of New Jersey, that means surreptitiously finding a new home each year for a computer holding an enormous directory of illegal files on the campus. ... The machine runs software called Direct Connect, which lets people on a local network easily trade files among their hard drives in a way that is usually undetectable to anyone outside the network. ... Educause recently unveiled a website with information about the new regulations. It provides case studies from six 'role-model campuses,' listing the steps they are taking to combat piracy. Another page lists 57 legal sources of music and movies on the Web. But when asked which campuses have forged new policies in reaction to the law, Educause officials were unable to name any."
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File Sharing Remains a Perk of College Life

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  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by 1336 (898588) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @03:21PM (#31889148) Homepage

    "Copying is not theft.
    Stealing a thing leaves one less left
    Copying it makes one thing more;
    that's what copying's for."

    Source: http://questioncopyright.org/minute_memes/copying_is_not_theft [questioncopyright.org]

  • by dcposch (1438157) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @03:30PM (#31889224)
    I'm a sophomore undergraduate at a relatively large university in California, and the volume of filesharing I see my classmates engage in is enormous.

    Most of the discussion about filesharing (here on Slashdot and elsewhere) seems to focus on P2P, but in my experience BitTorrent/Gnutella/P2P darknets are just the tip of the iceberg.

    The vast majority of the filesharing volume I see here is by sneakernet and private servers. The house I live in has a server with upwards of 3 TB of movies and music; all of our residents can log in.

    I've seen people merge their own several-GB collections with the collection on the server. Last year, I lived in a frosh dormitory; there was no server, but it was common for people to lend each other iPods or merge media collections on each other's laptops. That kind of sharing takes a few minutes to transfer a few GB--it's on an entirely different plane from the type of sharing the RIAA and MPAA focus on, transferring one song or one movie at a time over P2P.

    Incidentally, the media server setup I described is not unique to the house I live in--most of the houses and some of the dorms at my university have one; nor is it unique to colleges and universities--the startup I interned at two years ago had one, too.

    So when the RIAA/MPAA sues a single mom for her kid's Kazaa downloads, I see it as beating a dead horse. The real sharing is on the scale of GB and TB at a time, not individual songs. On the rare occasion when I do find something missing from the media libraries I have access to, I'll torrent it using PeerGuardian to block corporate IPs, so I'm unlikely to show up on any logs the RIAA keeps.

    By focusing their legal efforts on P2P users, I think that the media cartels may have drawn out the battle while losing the war. Yes, we're more reticent now to use BitTorrent. But we've merely moved to faster, more local, less traceable forms of sharing.
  • Re:not going to work (Score:4, Informative)

    by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @03:51PM (#31889394)

    Wasn't Nine Inch Nail's first stuff all originally done by Reznor in the studio?

    Hire a band for crying out loud.

  • Re:not going to work (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 18, 2010 @03:59PM (#31889450)

    bullshit. mike oldfield has toured from 1997 to 2008. it just takes more people than his albums.

  • DC++ FTW (Score:1, Informative)

    by twitterfire (1787276) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:39PM (#31889788)
    Use DC++ (StrongDC, ApexDC). It's so much better than torrents. Tons and tons of everything you can imagine or not. Just find a decent hublist and you're good to go.
  • by agrif (960591) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @05:31PM (#31890196) Homepage

    Magnatune is a really under-appreciated source of good music. They have all of their music available free, online, as creative commons with a short audio blurb at the end. As such, they're totally cool with you using their music in a non-commercial CC work. Additionally, they have a monthly service for only about $15 where you can download as much music as you want in just about every format, including mp3, ogg, and lossless formats. The best part is they're not evil: half of everything goes directly to the artist.

    The music's great too. They have a fine selection of classical, but a lot of other genres too. Off the top of my head I recommend the Seldon Plan, Chris Harvey, and those featured in Braid (Jami Sieber et. al.)

    Okay, sorry about the ad speak. I have a tendency to go overboard about Magnatune... but I just love them so much!

  • Re:not going to work (Score:3, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @06:18PM (#31890518) Journal

    I wonder if anyone has done the math on this... but if you lowered the price of Photoshop to $50... would it create more profit than at its current price $669?

    Adobe has already figured that one out. The relatively price-insensitive customers (professional design shops) they gouge out the wazoo, while they sell a much cheaper program (Elements) missing just a few features (which are key to the pros but not the dabblers) to gather in money from the masses. And they sell the full programs to students for a much reduced price.

    (it can be cheaper to take a design course at a community college and buy the student version than to buy the full version. Especially if you qualify for an education tax credit as a result. And it's 100% legal)

  • by shadowbearer (554144) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:46PM (#31891820) Homepage Journal

      Indeed. External drive enclosures with SSD's are getting down to the size of a small paperback book. Easily concealable, and even more easy to dump in a garbage can somewhere without losing much, if it becomes necessary.

      Maybe not as "convenient" for some people as broadband sharing is, but nearly un-prosecutable, given how common and how inexpensive drives of large capacity are becoming.

      Once again, technology is bypassing antiquated business models and the efforts of those who hold to them to keep the status quo. Damned shame that the politicians are mostly ignorant of the ramifications of said technology.

      They, too, are becoming antiquated.

    SB

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 18, 2010 @11:03PM (#31892230)
    Here is a list of choices for hub software:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Connect_%28file_sharing%29#Hub_software [wikipedia.org]

    Here's a real-world example of a very effective use of DC++: There is a certain event where several thousand computers are hooked into a 100mbit LAN and filesharing is done on a massive scale. DC++ is the protocol of choice because it allows everyone to hash their own files in advance, so that they will be searchable. The central hub is heavily taxed and at some point stops allowing new users to log into the hub, due to the insane amounts of traffic, but is for the most part pretty reliable. Once you are logged in, the hub does its job perfectly and you can chat, browse file lists, search for files, and even start a transfer and then search the rest of the users for that exact file so you can pull it in from multiple sources. Total share size is in the hundreds of TB. The software used on the hub is Verlihub on linux.
  • by BLKMGK (34057) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .em4knujerom.> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @11:16PM (#31892328) Homepage Journal

    Okay so I've done some research...

    First the client does most of the work not the hubs. I'm using and playing with uHub, runs on Linux. Simple compile but config is ALL via text files - ick. Gee it's Linux so no big surprise - have their web site handy for config help. DC++ is the client I'm using but I will likely look for another since it cannot handle UNC shares as targets. It chunks up transfers like a torrent does so if things drop you can restart and pull from multiple sources if needed.

    Anyway, the client does the heavy lifting in this scenario with the hub just sort of pointing users at one another. Some of the software out there to run hubs looked interesting but also fairly old and this one seems to work pretty well. I have yet to get uHub working with SSL, it has to be compiled with a switch to enable the support, yup Linux!

    Bottom line, pick a good client and this software seems pretty light to run if you have a Linux box around - mine is an ATOM HTPC and the load is negligible. Not sure this is the solution to my particular issue but it does seem to work fairly well...

  • by stevo3232 (794498) on Monday April 19, 2010 @02:10AM (#31893168)

    I go to a university in Canada with about 25000 students. The exact same thing happens here, people who run resnet know DC++ exists and they look the other way. They actually moderately appreciate it because it means that fewer people are grabbing files from outside the network which a) means the RIAA is going to send them fewer legal threats and b) the university uses less bandwidth, since everything within resnet costs them nothing.

    Students will ALWAYS find ways to download files.

  • by justinlee37 (993373) on Monday April 19, 2010 @05:17AM (#31893854)

    Thats another thing to figure out; how can the school punish when the police cannot find any evidence to make a case?

    The school is not required to use the same burden of proof that the police are required to use in order to convict in a criminal case. Criminal cases usually require evidence proving the crime "beyond a reasonable doubt [wikipedia.org]." Civil cases usually require evidence to prove the wrong-doing beyond a "preponderance of the evidence [wikipedia.org]," meaning there must be a 51% or greater chance that the wrong-doing occurred. This is why O.J. Simpson was convicted in civil court of killing his wife, but not in criminal court.

    At my school, the school punishes infractions of the student code if the Dean feels that a "preponderance of the evidence" supports to disciplinary action. Your school probably has a similar standard, and although it could be more or less than a preponderance, it is most assuredly a lower standard than that required to convict someone of a crime in a court of law.

    IANAL, but I did do competition Mock Trial in high school, and this stuff is basically common knowledge.

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