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What's Banned On Your Campus?

emmett posted more than 13 years ago | from the taking-a-nap dept.

Censorship 539

Going through the Slashdot submission bin, one story has been popping up over and over again over the past few months. Every few days, someone writes in to tell us about yet another university that has banned Napster, the popular mp3 distribution tool. From Indiana University to Seton Hall, there are over a hundred colleges and universities that have banned its use. It's not just Napster, either. DeCSS and internet telephony are being targeted, as well. Some people say it's censorship, others say it's just a matter of reclaiming the university's bandwidth.

We wanted to give the Slashdot readership a chance to talk about this issue. The 'Students Against University Censorship' have set up a site chronicling the day-to-day Napster battle, listing every school they know of that has banned the program. What's going on at your school? What are their policies regarding Internet usage? Have you had a run-in with the collegiate authorities over something you were trying to do? Let us know!

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Re:no bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235281)

Uh- can't the university just use some Quality of Service controls to limit bandwith and avoid blocking access altogether... of course I'm assuming the NetAdmin at those universityies could figure out how to do QoS limiting....

I guess I'm just lucky Purdue hasn't banned anything yet.

Re:me too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235331)

I was once proud to be an NYU grad... I'll have to mention this the next time their Alumni dep't tries to get money from me :P

other items banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235333)

at my former university:

ICQ (or any other instant message format)
Network Gaming
internet phone
any internal or external FTP services (not setup by I.S.)

I've not been back in a while to visit, I'm wondering of they have banned IRC yet...

Bans at Duquesne University... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235347)

The use of Napster is not yet prohibited, but the possessionl of MP3's (if you are caught and/or reported - ie you run an FTP, or have SMB shares) will get you send to the school's judiciary board. I suspect that when a certain network administrator (*cough*karensturgeon*cough*) figures out that dozens of computers in many labs have Napster on them, it will be banned rather quickly. Besides that, the Computer Technology Service (CTS) tries to prohibit students from using Linux on residence computers because it "threatens network security". They don't like the idea of student's running a telnet, ftp, http, etc. daemon(s). If that wasn't enough, the school's unofficial standpoint is that DeCSS is also banned. Fun, huh?

Porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235351)

In reality, at my school at least, porn, specifically to guys dorms, has saturated far more bandwidth than other above mentioned uses.

Re:Educate me on something.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235363)

They block Napsters servers IP address. Easy.

Re:no bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235365)

They should ban AllAdvantage, GotoWorld and all those other shitty things too. Half the Stevens students I know have AllAdvantage running in the background with mouse-jiggler software to make it think there's activity when there's not.

it's reached Ireland too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235367)

Yep - Napster and Internet telephony has been banned here too. The University here in Galway added a new firewall, which was *so* effective that it wouldn't even let through mail for two days!! At the moment mail and HTML is allowed, and it was a battle to get back FTP. Telnet and SSH has also been disallowed. I mean, there are over 7000 students here, each needing the internet for project research, which sometimes requires more than what is allowed, especially within the Computer Programming and Electronic Engineering faculties. Also there are many foreign students whose only method of communicating with their families was through internet chat. The problem here is that the firewall (and the entire college network) is been run by people who are not qualified to be network administrators. There *is* a fine line between so called security, and supression of basic rights, but thay seemed to have crossed it. It's the students' money that pays for the equipment, shouldn't we have a say in what happens??

Banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235368)

Here at Tennessee Tech they banned BattleNet and Unreal T. Napster is still going strong though.

Re:You know what's banned on my campus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235376)

Thats because your girlfriend doesn't have one.

My School Has The Nerve To Ban... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235378)

the pouring of hot grits down our pants !!! We shall revolt, as any honest, grit loving collegian would do.

thank you

What they should REALLY ban.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235380)

is stupidity.

Why was it banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235387)

Well at University college suffolk (england) YAhoo.***,, freshmeat.***, and anything remotely useful has been banned. but only through DNS so if you know the IP address you can get round it!!

You're a big boy now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235390)

I think by the time you reach college you should at least know what's good for you and what's not. If you want to use Napster to grab the hottest tracks...then that's you're may get burned, you may not. But when you are paying rediculous amounts of tution and room & board would seem that the university should let you do whatever you want with your connection, you've earned it (and you've paid for it).

It's an outrage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235394)

My campus has banned me from pouring hot grits down both my pants, and emmett's pants. Please, somebody pour some grits down my pants...and fast! I can't take much more of thiss

Bannedwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235396)

Sieg Heil!!! Mein Fuhrer!!!!!!

Re:Who's paying for the bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235397)

So, if the public is paying they'd rather see a bunch of college kids not using the bandwidth for long distance calls to their mothers and instead racking up large bills to the phone companies or not calling at all? What's wrong with you? The bandwidth is there and being paid for even when its not being used. My dorm, while housing 800, has a quad T3, I know all the bandwidth isn't used, but its fast. They banned napster on my campus recently, not that proxies weren't the five minute fix, supposedly because it ate bandwidth. There is no difference in how fast anything loads now after the ban. I'd be pissed if they banned dialpad. Thats the way I can afford to call my parents and keep in touch with them while trying to pay for an education. Let the people that have the bandwidth use it. I'm not saying all schools should upgrade for napster, and bandwidth throtling, if there isn't much bandwidth, is a good thing. But please don't say because you pay taxes you want to see bandwidth unused.

And who needs MP3's anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235398)

Especially when you've got MODs as good as the one by Purple Motion from Second Reality?

Listening to it right now, in fact.

Wow that's good.

"mp3 technology" (0)

shitface (121619) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235402)

My school has put a ban on "mp3 technologies"- I really do not know what that means. I could mean mp3's and any software used to create and or obtain mp3's. I have not rocked the boat and asked because I live off-campus and do not deal with that stuff on campus.

Here at the University of Delaware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1235410)

Fortunatly Udel has not jumped on the censoring bandwagon (yet). Either they're too behind in technology or they're just apathetic to this issue.

The school has dual DS3s to the Internet and a DS3 out to Internet2, net bandwidth is not a problem. The biggest problem is that here on campus the housing segments are all on 10BaseT hub based LANs with old CAT3 (4 maybe?) wiring. Not only can you read what your neighbors have to say in their e-mails and grab their usernames and passwords, but one big file transfer across network neighborhood will jam up the network solid.

Every night everyone fires up their favorite client of choice (FTP, Napster, AIM) and uses some of the bandwidth (this segment goes across several hundred rooms) and all night long I won't even be able to code in the EE department from my room because my ping time is 1sec to the local router.

Despite this, I still use the bandwidth for my own purposes too, and I don't want to see the University cracking down on "illegal" bandwidth usage because then when I want to get my MP3s, ISOs, etc... I won't be able to any time of the day.

So in summary, I don't know about other schools, but if this University would upgrade to 100BaseTX/FX or at least put in some switches instead of hubs, we wouldn't have these kinds of bandwidth problems. Some of the better housing complexes on campus have switches already (when will they upgrade the other parts? Who knows) and only the departments are lucky enough to get 100BaseTX/FX.

conditions nominal (1)

jcurbo (132) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235416)

My university (Henderson State University [] ) has not banned Napster yet, luckily. However, while last year we were openly networked (I had a static IP, for instance, and a linux server under a domain name from a friend) this year they put the dorms behind a Microsoft Proxy Server firewall. In other words, you have to use their Winsock Proxy Client to use anything besides HTTP proxying on the network. It blows if you use Linux. They did it in response to rampant IRC serving last year by a few of my friends. They sucked up major bandwidth :) Now if our college had installed SOCKS 5 I would be perfectly happy, however MS Proxy only supports SOCKS 4 (no UDP, thus no ICQ) but I have a plan. I've put up a Windows SOCKS5 server in my room on an old P100. The SOCKS5 requests from my box go through the winsock proxy client on the Windows box and out through the proxy to the Net. Thus I can use Linux through this hack for just about anything.

I can think of hardly anything that has been *banned*.. we still play Halflife, Starcraft, etc on the Net. Napster works. ICQ works. Pretty much just doing the serving thing has been banned, since we're firewalled. Our Computer Services department also has some sort of contract with MS.. so NT goes up more and more each day.. luckily Computer Science just moved the entire programming curriculum over to Unix....

Wrong approach to a justifiable limit (1)

Max Hyre (1974) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235424)

Wellll, bandwidth is limited, and if certain persons are making it a problem, then attack the problem, not the symptom. Insist limited resources be shared responsibly.

Set bandwidth limits on usage, just as timeshared systems have disk-, CPU-, and other resource-usage limits. Banning DeCSS, Napster, etc. is treading too close to (if not over) the censorship line; obscene for an educational institution. They shouldn't even need traffic-shaping capability---just publish an acceptable-use policy, monitor usage, and every {day, week, month} let folks know if they're not playing nicely. When necessary, drop their connection until they figure out how to stay within the limits.

Then, students can use anything they want, publish (i.e., run servers) as they like, and the (alleged) real problem is taken care of.

Of course, if requests for reasonable policies are rejected, we'll have a clue to underlying motivations :-(.

Re:Educate me on something.... (1)

Brad (3629) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235434)

Block the standard ports it runs on....

why this is banned -- bandwidth (1)

jnazario (7609) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235443)


i really feel like i have to comment on this. i'm on several key networking mailing lists, and one of those has repeated discussions about napster. the issue is more bandwidth than anything. our university has a fat pipe to the world, but a lot of places have only a T1 or not much more. when you consider that the traffic from napster consumes over 30% of that pipe in most circumtances, you'll quickly realize that there's not much room for anything else, be it pr0n, mail, w4r3z trafficking or whatnot.

whine all you want. really, go ahead and do it. "but this is infringing on our freedoms!" the reality is you're hogging bandwidth. and until you pay for that bandwidth, please don't talk about freedoms being infringed upon.

here's a typical school's item on why they banned napster: e.html [] ... while copyright issues are of course taken seriously, it's *bandwidth* folks...

Re:Not only (1)

Fantome (7951) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235444)

Most multiplayer games are meant to support atleast 4 people over a 56k modem, and EVERY real game takes up less than 33kbps for a single player, because that's what a 56k modem is limited to in upload. Meaning not much, miniscule, really. Using the 33k number, that's 303 people playing on a 10Mps network. Well, that's just a guess, but it's obvious a worse case scenario.

The only exception to this I found is xkoules, which clogged my 10bT internal network with a mere four players! It's called peer to peer networking, and network updates based on screen refreshes. Or in other words, sh*t. But it's adictive, and it works in Linux. Oh well, time to upgrade to 1Gbs.

Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (1)

Bad Mojo (12210) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235455)

If the trade of pirated/illegal MP3's is so rampant on a college campus, why not monitor the traffic, collect data, and then bust the offenders? You do this enough times, and people will start to realize they are being watched and will be caught.

Bad Mojo

Online notes (1)

crumley (12964) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235456)

Well the newest thing here at the University of Minnesota is that the University Seate is considering banning students selling class notes. This ban is mainly aimed at stopping students from selling their notes to sites that would put them on the web.

I guess that I don't really understand the point. Sure I can see why some professors might not like seeing there stuff online in a form that they can't control, but I can't really see the harm.

If they're putting up verbatim copies of handouts that's one thing, but if the notes are taken by the students, it seems like fair game.

Sure sites like these may make some students think they can get away without going to class, but if online notes are enough to allow that to happen then the course needs to be redesigned anyway.

Re:Oh geez... (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235476)

The University of Illinois banned me due to my outspoken views on personal freedoms and censorship. I also had a 1.2 GPA, but I don't think that was the main reason.


Students banned for bringing their own computers (1)

mog (22706) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235478)

At my university, an entire hall in a friend's dorm was blocked out of the campus network for bringing in their own computers and putting them on a network with a hub.

The system administrators here are the biggest bunch of idiots since that guy that hit his head with cheese to find out if it tasted good.

For example, a friend was in a lab and changed the refresh rate to 80 (not knowing that the monitors only went to 70.. he's got bad eyes and he says that 80 is easier for him to read). So of course the screen went skitzo (WinNT.. the screen never came back.. seems like it should have after the autotest *shrug*). The head lab guy came over, looked at the computer, and proceeded to get a ghost disk and rebuild the whole machine. My friend told him "you know you can just boot into VGA mode and fix it.. you don't have to rebuild the machine". The admin then told him that "these machines can't do that" and got pissed off at my friend for being such an idiot.

My school is not without it's saving graces, though. I'm convinced I have the single greatest CS professor in the history of existence. He's totally fscking awesome.


Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (1)

stab (26928) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235491)

Quote: And another point. Banning Napster doesn't prevent people from pirating MP3's. Banning illegal MP3's will ban illegal MP3's. Funny how that works. It takes vigilance to stop crime, not another line in the old port filter.

There's principle, and there's being practical.

Me standing up in University and screaming "I BAN MP3S!" wouldn't do shit. Me blocking the tool that a lot of students use, which would cut down the usage drastically, would. And remember, almost all acceptable usage policies ban copyright infringments and other illegal activities using that network, so illegal MP3s are banned from the start.

I just can't see a line of conscientious students poring through their AUP's and then saying "Sorry Jim, I can't accept those files, they're illegal!"

Ban the popular tool. Easy enough to get around of course, but it would stop the 95% non-tech-savvy ones anyway.

Oh geez... (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235513)

Yes, it's true... UMass Boston has banned me.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Censorship is questionable (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235524)

To call this censorship is laughable. From what I saw of Napster, no legitimate use actually existed and it served to do nothing more than suck up bandwidth. Universities pay large amounts of money to provide the fast connections they do, and if something like Napster is sucking up large percentages of that bandwidth for far-from-academic purposes, they have every right to block it.

The question is when they'll block imesh (

Re:Educate me on something.... (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235525)

My university just blocks all traffic to Napster's servers. This can easily be gotten around with anonymous web browsing services and an off-campus proxy.

At our school (1)

Meson (46166) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235528)

Our school has been "wired" for the past 5 years. Each year the rules get increasingly more strict. The "official" policy is a limit of 30 megs/day off-campus, and 300 megs/day on campus. However, they don't seem to strictly follow these (I'd imagine you could generate 30 megs of traffic doing some heavy long-term web browsing!). Every now and then someone will get busted for extraordinary traffic (in exceess of 1GB/week or so), and various other crimes that fall under the term of "copyright infringement".

As far as I know, they havn't blocked any specific software here (yet), although change is in the wind. However, one interesting thing that they started blocking a few years back is pings coming onto campus. While not exactly the end of the world, it can be an annoyance at times.

THE solution to the Banning (1)

Hynman (67328) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235545)

It's called IP over IP, or Mobile IP, or even VPN.
All you need is someone who is not blocked. And with VPN they hvae no idea what you are doing =)

BannedWidth? (1)

TheJoelMan (81015) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235563)

Just wanted to be the first to coin that phrase:


I like the sound of that.

That's only a small part of my campus' bandwidth (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235569)

I've been working with my campus's networking team, and using network analyzers all semester to try to determine why the network seems so slow at times. It turns out that things like Napster, Telephony and a lot of other "Bandwidth Hogs" are really not the source of the bottlenecks on campus. On my campus, at least, it turns out that the majority of bandwidth is actually consumed by multiplayer games like Half-Life, Q3, Unreal Tournament. I run a dedicated HL server off of my machine for my clan, and it often times has 20-30 people playing at once. This makes for some huge consumption. Although this is not outbound traffic, as all the guys are on campus, it does tie up the local network, choking out outbound traffic. My one server can consume up to 90% of total traffic on my network segment. Although my network segment itself doesn't get to more than 20% or so, it all bottlenecks up in the routers with traffic bound for other dorms, or other network segments within my own dorm. For all the dorms and computer labs on campus, there are over 50 routers total. My guess is that inter-router communications are the real bottleneck here. The actual outbound traffic rarely is very high, and local traffic makes up probably 99% of all traffic.

So to all those campus officials who say that things like Napster are consuming all the bandwidth, they're just simply wrong. My campus has seen it. They need to also.

You think you've got it bad (1)

hodeleri (89647) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235571)

Over here at Seattle University we've got a whole lot of crap for network access. First, we had two (or three) Class Bs that were given up so we could run NAT long, long ago.

Up until this week, our Internet connection was a pair of Frame relay links (barf) and we now have a pair of T1's for the staff/faculty, and a single T1 for the student dorms.

ALL of the dorms run on hubs (10bT, that's approximately 2000 students.

Earlier this year, Instant Messaging was banned in the name of "bandwidth consumption." Some of the staff noticed that nothing changed, so they turned it right back on.

Lately, several ports have started to become blocked, but I have been too busy to find out which (need to nmap an AOL server.) Likely canidates include:

  • UT
  • Q1
  • QW
  • Q2
  • Q3
  • Napster
  • MSN gaming zone
  • Battlenet
  • God knows what else

    In short, I am very displeased with how the network is run at Seattle University. I like the CSSE program they have here, but this kind of crap REALLY starts to piss me off.

    Up until last friday my average download speed was between 1.8K/s and 2.1K/s which is really very sad for a school of our size. That damn NAT box pisses me off the most. I would really like to have the opportunity to run a web server/mail server, but no dice.

Re:me too... (1)

jschauma (90259) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235572)

Me too! ;-)
It seems NYU has sent out an email last night regarding Napster, as mt girlfriend also asked me just last night "if I know what Napster is". But I'm not sure in how far it is really banned, I believe the email just said something along the lines of "discourage the use of Napster" or so...

Indiana University (1)

Baron Thompsonov (93959) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235577)

IU banned Napster, yes, but they've also been working with Napster on helping them develop a Napster that eats less bandwidth.

Believe it or not, IU actually facilitates MP3 distribution by not monitoring scratch drives and FTP sites run out of the dorms.

Re:conditions nominal (1)

aclute (94263) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235579)

You can run ICQ behind a MS Proxy server no problem. Just install the proxy client, and set ICQ to be *not* behind a proxy or firewall. This is all assuming that you are on a windows machine with ICQ. I am doing this right now

Relative freedom? (1)

phrawzty (94423) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235580)

Here at the University of Winnipeg - ConEd Campus [] , the students in computer-related courses have quite a bit of freedom over what they can and can't do. We're free to play with Napster, sit on the various instant messangers, etc.. As long as it isn't illegal, and it isn't consuming too much bandwidth, the admins here are ok with it.

As a sidenote, i would also like to point out that while all the workstations are WinNT, all of the servers here run FreeBSD. Woohoo!

.------------ - - -
| big bad mr. frosty
`------------ - - -

What's not banned? (1)

tourettes (97445) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235586)

On my campus there is not too much that is allowed. I haven't tested many internet programs, but from what i have tried, ICQ, Napster, IRC, even ftp is banned. Telnet is "sometimes" allowed when the server has a hiccup, newsgroups aren't allowed, etc. so what are we allowed? The web, plain and simple, even porn. What kind of campus allows its users to not access FTP or even newsgroups to gain information that may be needed, but does allow its users to download various types of porn. There is definitly something wrong around here. Btw, i'm located in Newfoundland, Canada. And this is the only college that disallows these types of internet programs, we're pretty much restricted here, however, a few advanced users have been able to get around it. One really weird thing is that we are allowed access to a Linux shell that the webserver is located on from anywhere in the world OTHER then on campus itself. You figure it out, cause i'm boggled.

How about usage schedules? (1)

bubbasatan (99237) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235589)

It would not be terribly challenging from the IT perspective to set up a schedule whereby students could use Napster, voice over IP, etc. only at certain times of the day. Times when usage is generally low anyway. Like 10 pm to 6 am. Most college students are awake at those hours anyway, and most faculty and other university employees or daytime users would not be using campus bandwidth at that time. Having recently matriculated, I can clearly recall our T1 (we were a small school) being grossly choked out during the day, but at 3am I could suck up all the bandwidth I ever wanted. It really wouldn't be all that tough to set up a scheme whereby certain subnets, such as dorms, were limited during the day, and opened up at night. In any regard, anything is better than censorship (aka net serfdom).


zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235590)

Many people replying to this article are completely missing the boat. Legality is not the issue. The universities are concerned about their bandwidth being choked; Brittney Spears' copyright concerns are irrelevant to them.

I have seen university officials state over and over that the copyright issues are not their concern, that they simply want to maintain bandwidth for other users who might be doing something more academic than downloading the latest Eminem single.

That said, I have to give my own $0.02 on the bandwidth issue:

Academic pursuits typically use very little bandwidth. I doubt that many research articles one would find on the web are anywhere over a few thousand bytes. I'm currently a senior at my state's university (which incidentally is also grumbling about Napster), and in all the research I've conducted, bandwidth has never been a problem because nothing I have looked for has ever been much more than a simple text file.

The bandwidth problem is more imaginary than anything else. I doubt that some graduate student is scratching his head over why he's only getting 50k/sec instead of 100k/sec (still ten times faster than I get at home!) because some frosh is sitting in his dorm smoking pot and downloading Puff Daddy.

The problem is that neither the engineers who see the bandwidth problem nor the officials who are told about it really have any conception of what is going on. The engineers don't know the students and the officials don't know the networks. So people jump to confusions and we get actions such as the banning of Napster.



ICQ: 49636524

DeCSS banned for bandwidth issues?!? (1)

Keithel (100326) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235591)

I'm guessing from the way Emmett worded it, I'm guessing that Universities haven't banned DeCSS due to bandwidth issues, but if they have, they sure are braindead.

I mean, how many people out there use DeCSS to rip DVDs and then post them for DL, and also, who in their right mind would spend the time to DL a DVD image?

It may happen sometime in the near future, but I don't think it's happening now. (now, is someone going to prove me wrong?)

everything but Http and AIM (1)

K-Tel (102564) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235598)

My school, Grove City College, has banned pretty much everything but http and AOL instant messenger. That includes: ICQ, Napster, Usenet, FTP uploads, telephony, gaming, etc... You name it, we don't have it. We've also got Surfwatch going for us, blocking half the net. I've totally been brainwashed at this point :)> K-Tel

Censorship yes (1)

mrfunnypants (107364) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235608)

University of California San Diego can be added to that list, however I earlier stated that my school is making an effort to fix this problem. They are actually increasing bandwidth and said they are going to allow Napster's use next year, guess we will just have to wait and see.

... Uk Campus.. (1)

Yaruar (125933) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235647)

I've only been out of Uni a couple of years but we had a very clear internet policy.

Games were banned, pornography banned, materials in breach of out equal opportunities and dignity policies were banned, cracking banned, all illegal activity banned.

Sounds draconian? We also had the right to throw people off terminals if they were not working and we needed to work, as often they were taken up by people e-mailing or surfing when there were no terminals free (although I just used the x-terminals that we had as no body touched them.)

I think the policy was right. I was there for an education and the pc's had been brought to educate me. If I want to do that stuff I should pay for it, buy a pc and get on line.

People who are whinging that they can't use Napster at uni. Well, I would allow it, but charge you for the bandwith used on an account basis, and anyone abusing the system would be banned. Sound tough, well universities are there for education, not for you to get a free ride. And to those wo pay fees, well the fees are paying for your education, not for you to have free access to p0rn.

Also badwidth is an issue, the majority of bandwith that universities use isn't legitimate edcational use (unless you are playing guess the cup size....) and this has to be paid for by the university and therefore by the taxpayer (in the UK) and the fee payer in other systems.

As for the UK, JANET is a joke as firms con a link by funding university projects...... But that is another matter.

Re:Not only (1)

#include (130485) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235651)

I'm not sure how much bandwith multiplayer games actually take up. Does anyone know how much bandwith do multiplayer games actually take up? I wonder if it depends on the game?
Generally, MP games take up a bit (but not a whole lot) of bandwidth, on the serverside. Clients don't really use up that much bandwidth (in my personal experience, I can play UT while I'm downloading stuff w/ Napster and host a webserver...all on my cable modem :-)).

Re:no bandwidth (1)

#include (130485) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235652)

Hell, while we're at it, let's ban the biggest bandwidth hogs of all:
Banner Advertising.

Who's paying for the bandwidth? (1)

ChuckularOne (131516) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235653)

It come right down to who's paying. At a private school, aren't the students who pay their lab fees and tuition buying the bandwidth? In those cases, it's a matter of how to distribute the cost of additional bandwidth. In government schools, WE are paying for the bandwidth (at least subsidizing it.) and I can think of better things to pay for than some college kids IP Phone calls.

Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (1)

ChuckularOne (131516) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235654)

"Last I checked, ripping a CD (you owned) wasn't illegal"

The point of Napster is to get MP3's when you don't own the CD's. But you knew that. The use of Napster is inherently illegal. I only use it to download files I'm to lazy to rip from CD's I already own ;-)

Psst. Wanna buy some ocean front Kansas property?

Bandwidth is a serious issue (1)

4iedBandit (133211) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235655)

I went to a private school and they only had a T1 connection which they recieved an "education" discount on from the phone company. Back before the web exploded that was enough, but today if just half the student body is running a server of any type full time, it dosen't take long to soak up that connection. Yes you pay for your education, but convince the administration that running Quake, Unreal, Napster, etc. is part of your education. Convince them that paying for high bandwidth access is more important then paying for good academic staff. Money is a limited resource, if they have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase bandwidth or restrict the use of their current bandwidth, the choice is pretty obvious. Universities are connected for academic purposes first, is it really suprising that they are trying to preserve that purpose? Banning network games, mp3 and IP telephony is not censorship folks. Calling it such is like saying the government censors your right to ride a tricycle down the middle of a free way. You can ride your tricycle, but not on the freeway.

A couple of comments on Napster (1)

Jinker (133372) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235656)

Firstly, calling closing certain ports down and filtering internet traffic censorship is a bit misleading.

In the US, the freedom from censorship protected by the first amendment only relates to censorship by the government. A University is a private institution.

Second, I can really feel for the sysadmins running university networks. Their servers are already enough of a headache: Insufficient hardware and meatware resources, many MANY accounts to administer with *high* turnover, complex mixed environments etc.

Napster's security implications are a little frightening. Auto-configuring proxy settings to set up *any* computer on a network as a file server?

Plus, the fact that it has *no* justifiable redeeming qualities as a *legal* tool means that I don't think they should have to take the risk to have it running and chewing up their bandwidth. Anyone who's ever seen the software knows this. Illegal music outnumbers legal music by some ungodly ratio.

University internet accounts are provided FOR EDUCATION PURPOSES. They're subsidized by the tuition fees, which are in turn, subsidized by the government.

If you want to download Warez, Mp3z and pr0n, go do it on a personal internet account.

I don't beleive that a user of a network has 'rights' to completely open, uncontrolled access to do whatever they want with that network, especially when it's still kind of gray where the responsability of the service provider ends in terms of the actions of the service users.

*IDEA* based filtering, forbidding access to, say, a website about interracial marriage, or the Democratic Party's home page or stuff like that is a whole other barrel of fish.


Netcams (1)

Dungeon Dweller (134014) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235657)

My university has banned at least one student from running a netcam out of his dorm room. Also, windows file sharing. All computers infected with Back Orifice (found using a port scan), have their connections deactivated. ICQ has been turned off before. Ident is blocked. Also, running a server of any kind is not allowed on the campus network.

Am I being stupid here..... (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235659)

Aren't the results for the number of Colleges banning Slashdot going to be a bit skewed?

And who exactly is banning those Rabbits? Can't we get them under Heightism laws? Or Speciesism laws at least.

Usenet!? (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235661)

I can understand banning Napster.
I can understand banning Gaming.
I can even understand banning Telephony.

But isn't the purpose of Usenet meant to be for experts to exchange knowledge. Thats what a schools all about isn't it. All they need to do is set up their own NNTP server that doesn't handle any of the binaries groups. Its not like it will take up a huge amount of bandwidth.

Naper here at PSU (1)

aTRaTiCa (141651) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235673)

Here at PSU Napster consumes an extremely large amount of bandwith. However, PSU CAC represenatives have decided to buy more bandwith for the campuses... I don't really like the idea of Napster, but I don't beleive it should be banned. It is rather annoying, as I have a kid sitting next to me in the lab using the thing... Ugh... Anyways :)

Re:everything but Http and AIM (1)

Kid_Eternity (142837) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235676)

Ya know, Grove City College is just this side of cult hood. I had a good freind of mine go there and come out a lesbian....

On my campus... (1)

SirEdward (145032) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235677)

What's banned on my campus? Sex, booz, drugs, women and men alone in the same room, living off campus and getting scholarships, did I mantion booz? Did I mention my university is baptist? BTW, Napster isn't banned...

me too... (1)

nilrake (155718) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235688)

at the risk of a "me too", my wife just asked me last night if I knew what Napster was...It's now banned from NYU

Bandwidth Issues (1)

-ParadoX- (158084) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235692)

You can add NDSU too your list... The reason floated through the IT dept where I work: Regain control over the bandwith...there was a marked difference in outgoing vs. incoming and overall useage (or so we're told) though I do think that because of Napster's main use (easy access to mp3's) the ban passed much more easily and quickly than if someone proposed a ban on somthing like Spinner or some other streaming media service...

Re:Who's paying for the bandwidth? (2)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235708)

Actually, most private schools get a lot of their money from donations.


Re:As a former university sysadmin (2)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235710)

You are absolutely correct. One of the things that truly bothered me when I was working in education was this whole idea that education is a business and students are customers. A university should pursue knowledge -- not more customers. I think many universities have forgotten that this is where their purpose really lies.


I'm a college sysadmin (2)

Garfunkel (3569) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235715)

And we are *sortof* banning napster. It IS possible for it to be used, you just have to know what you're doing a little bit (as with most of the methods used by the colleges.) Methods to get around types of banning are posted on [] . Our SOLE reason for doing this was bandwidth. Period. There was little to no thought put into the legality of it. Our policy states that the network should only be used for academic purposes and thatthe network is a shared resource. If something you are doing is adversly affecting someone else's chance to get an education then you get shut down. We're a small college, so we don't have the man power or the money, or the time to look into throttleing bandwidth such as other Universities are doing. We wish we could. This is the first and so far only thing we've banned (though iMesh may soon follow). I'm interested in seeing napster saved myself. I love it, it's a great program, its design, however, leaves most universities no choice but to do something about it (whatever that sometihg is.) I'm sure I'm going to get flamed on this one by irate students, and I've gotten flames from students here. It's often not up to the sysops though, we got complaints from everybody on campus on how slow the internet connection is, and Napster was the cause. We had to do it so that the 90% of the people on the network who weren't using napster had bandwidth to do real academic work. This is not an issue about censorship. Students who complain that it's censorship obviously don't have all the facts straight and are jumping on the latest cause bandwagon.(I keep thinking about a 2000 version of PCU:) ) I've signed up for the save napster mailing list and I plan on keeping very close tabs on what's going on. I believe this will be a defining issue. This is the first real big issue that Universities have faced since putting in ResNet networks.

Re:SSU - Salisbury State University, Salisbury, MD (2)

szo (7842) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235722)

I found it amusing that the "network administrators" never heard of traffic shaping. Granted, the banning is kind of shaping, but it's a rather drastical one.


Not only (2)

Ryn (9728) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235727)

My university is planning to ban multiplayer games too. At least I fall into the grandfather's clause, but sucks to be new students, when they won't be able to play Unreal against each other.
This is stupid. University is claiming that games take up bandwidth dedicated for research, even though research network is on www2.

Re:Who's paying for the bandwidth? (2)

BridgeBum (11413) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235731)

I attended a state school. I assure you that students have lab fees to pay for networks, computer labs, etc. at public schools just as they would in private schools.

I know that when it was new, ICQ was "banned" in the dorms. Obviously ICQ is not very network intensive, but it was deemed a security risk. (If you have ever taken a look at the protocalls, you would understand why.) Firewalls in place...bam bam! No more ICQ. I believe there was something of a protest over this, and eventually the restriction was lifted.

(Of course, even if they aren't, ICQ is now pretty smart about getting through firewalls. I'm not sure if it was then, I don't remember.)

So the question important are these programs to the student body? If they decide it is important, then there needs to be some organization to express that to the university. Quietly grumbling isn't going to get anything done.


Re:Educate me on something.... (2)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235732)

I'm not a fascist administrator or anything, but if I were, and I wanted to avoid an "arms race"... I'd simply expel students who used napster after the ban was announced.

Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (2)

Bad Mojo (12210) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235733)

"Clearly, they cannot condone the flagrant ripping of MP3's on campus."

Last I checked, ripping a CD (you owned) wasn't illegal. I assume you would like to see campuses also cut down on people copying LPs to cassette tapes?

And another point. Banning Napster doesn't prevent people from pirating MP3's. Banning illegal MP3's will ban illegal MP3's. Funny how that works. It takes vigilance to stop crime, not another line in the old port filter.

Bad Mojo

I don't see the problem (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235737)

OK, you can bitch about how "I'm paying for the bandwidth" but the truth is, you're not even coming close. And what's the big deal? No University student NEEDS a super high-speed connection in their dorm room. Isn't it possible to just throttle the dormNet connections to, say, 10 or 15k/sec? That's plenty fast to surf around a bit, but slow enough to make snagging that new Limp Bizkit album or the latest pirate VCD's a real pain in the ass.
Furthur complaints about "censorship" or "I'm paying for it" come off to me as merely self-centred whining. Jeez, I was impressed when my roommate dialed into the library cataogue computer with a 2400 baud on his IIci to check for books!


My stance on Napster (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235742)

There is a superficially easy way to stop Napster from eating all of a University's bandwidth. Basically, someone at the University (or maybe a script) should send emails to anyone hosting copyrighted material on Napster and tell them to delete it or face temporary termination of their connection. A student can't complain, because they _are_ breaking the law. This way, not everyone is punished for what only some people do.

Granted, this would be a large task and would only cover the serving half, not the client half. Does anyone know where the bulk of the bandwidth is eaten up? I would guess that serving content uses more bits.

Re:But we Pay (2)

bflame (21224) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235743)

Here at Cornell University we pay over $80 a semester for access to the Campus Network

If you are actually paying a fee to access the campus network then they are acting as your ISP and should have no rights to tell you how to use your connection. If the fee is actually a technology fee then things change, because you are paying a fee to help pay for the technology on campus and not for internet service.

Bandwidth isn't free. (2)

hardaker (32597) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235752)

The whole problem is that in the past few years the bandwidth available to universities has been increasing rapidly. Internet2 has spurred this to an all time high. However, since the standard pricing model is based on the bandwidth used these same universities are now throwing up their hands saying "We can't pay for what we have". There are really only a few options to universities that are having their bandwidth consumed by it's users:
  1. Block sites that require heavy bandwidth, as has been done recently by universities dealing with napster, ipad, etc.
  2. Continue to pay the bills regardless of what is used and proclaim that students (and staff!) should have absolute freedom. Most likely this will result in higher tuition charges to cover the cost.
  3. Start charging each student on a per byte basis for the bandwidth they use.
I'm betting that #3 will win in the long run. It's the only fair solution when you break it down, as it charges the people that use it. As unfair as it seems to the people that want to use the most bandwidth, it simply puts the charges on the people that use it. Option #2 is certainly the way it should be, but if the cost is spread out to the students that aren't making use of it then its not really fair to them. What we need is free bandwidth, and since that'll never happen we're stuck with charging someone. The only sensible solution is to charge the people that are using the bandwidth. However, the biggest problem with this is that universities are not set up to handle this kind of recharge service. There is a whole new wave of infrastructure that is required to put a per-byte pricing model in place, and it doesn't exist in most places yet. Until it does, I'm sure more and ore universities will be implementing #1 since their budgets just aren't prepared for the bills their getting charged with.

Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235756)

Although I'm a big user of Napster, I have to agree here. Napster is a tool to help people perform illegal acts. Yes, it could theoretically be used to transfer legal MP3s, but it isn't and that's the bottom line.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Here's an interesting page... (2)

ronfar (52216) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235763)

...from the list. The College of New Jersey complies with "The Digital Millenium Copyright Act" []

Ah, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Scourge of Liberty and Friend to the Tyrant.

We really must get this damnéd thing repealed.

Of course, if you are in New Jersey, you should go to my old Alma Mater, Rutgers, anyway (where I got my B.A. in English). I think they have a more liberal use policy, here it is e-use-guide.html []

Re:Not only (2)

Duxup (72775) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235772)

I can estimate how much say Napseter and IP Telephony takes up with some level of accuracy, however I'm not sure how much bandwith multiplayer games actually take up.
Does anyone know how much bandwith do multiplayer games actually take up? I wonder if it depends on the game?

Sounds familliar (2)

Stormin (86907) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235774)

When I was a student at Albany they were still in the process of lighting up the campus. (They'd run wire everywhere the year before I came. They'd told everyone that high speed internet access would be available everywhere. Then they didn't have the cash for the routers and hubs. Oops. So they lit up a little each year.) Anyhow, as a result there weren't as many people using it as might have otherwise. The computing department routinely "banned" software because it "might" be responsible for problems. I knew students who worked there, and after they tested it and found no problems, the ban was lifted. Except they never published anything saying the ban was lifted. If you didn't know the right people, you would never know. I got sick of it and ran coax around the suite so we could play Quake disconnected from their network.

It didn't surprise me the things they blamed on network games - These people actually posted the good times virus warning in the logon news! (And then 2 months later posted a message that it was a hoax and anyone who forwarded it would lose their account, so don't forward it! Mysteriously, they'd deleted their original post from the database.)

All in all, it's the kind of behavior I expect form those policing the educational world.

Re:Who's paying for the bandwidth? (2)

Arctic Fox (105204) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235781)

No. At a private school, you are still only paying a small fraction of the cost it takes to run the school. Where I went (Drexel U), my 17K x 3500 students didnt go too far.

Hey...Dont forget taht the President of the school lives on the Main Line in a University owned house, drives University leased cars, goes on trips everywhere but to campus. etc....

Seriously though, running a large school takes alot of money (physical plant, salaries etc). What you kick-in doesnt cover it all.

This signature contains text from the worlds funniest signature.

Persuasion (2)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235783)

I wonder what the chances are that the universities are recieving a little bit of persuasion from the record industry on this one?

It may of course be the case that they are just worried about their bandwidth getting chewed but in my experience many Phd's (computer science) are in on the game and do it themselves so there must be high-up influences involved here....

With respect to research: much of the time research use of education networks tends to take up tiny ammounts of bandwidth so why not use up the rest :)

From a students side (2)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235784)

All arguments aside about private vs. public colleges: I attended the U of Missouri and we did in fact pay $20 a month for ethernet access which came to around $9600 a month that a dorm would pay for something like ResNet. This most certainly facilitates the kind of bandwidth that the students would be using up with programs like Napster.

No...bandwidth is not free. But if students don't see the direct cost of this (e.g. a $XX a month surcharge for ethernet) then they most definitely see it in their tuition. At the U. of Colorado, students are charged a Riot Fee because of the certainty that they are going to riot at some point in the year.

The point is this. the students ARE paying for their bandwidth, be it directly or indirectly. So let's not hear all the SA's and SE's out there who've forgotten about their college experiences back in the early 80's bitch about it!

Your Ad Here!

my school merely bans personal freedom...... (2)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235787)

1) I can't have members of the opposite sex in my room, but once every two weeks for four hours. And then with the dorm open so an RA can check up on us, you'd think i was in prison, but in prison, conjugal visits are private.

2) I can't have a toaster, candle, etc. How am I supposed to have my bagel in the morning?

3) I must be in by 12:30 on school nights. ridiculous, yes, it is.

And thats just the beginning. I can't believe i'm paying someone $11000 a year to impose more rules on my life than i live with at home. Sure, i'm in bed by 11:30 most nights anyway, i like to get ALOT of sleep. And I have a toaster, but the point is, Students have no rights, thats why they are students, if they had rights, they would be professors.

Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (2)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235789)

Clearly if a network application sucks up too much bandwidth, any net admin is going to freak out.

But banning it because people do illegal things with it? Give me a break. Take a look at your local "decency laws". There's a 50-50 chance that netscape/ie are used for "illegal activities" on any given day. Not to mention copying pirated software...

Within their rights (3)

slim (1652) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235791)

When I was at Uni, I got into some moderate trouble for mailing on a copy of the 1000 question Purity Test to a few friends. I didn't object: those computers, that network infrastructure, they were paid for so that we (the students) could use them for education -- not so we could exchange lighthearted smut.

When MP3s flying around the network start to affect people's ability to get real work done -- both by students and researchers -- I think it's entirely within the rights of the admins to restrict the use of things like Napster. Buy your own T1.

I'm a campus network admin ... (3)

Tack (4642) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235792)

My job is system and network administration on the campus of a local university. I would be the one to recommend to my boss about these types of policies (and ultimately I think the final say would be mine).

Personally, I feel that this _is_ a matter of censorship. Furthermore, banning sites and blocking ports is a futile attempt. Students are resourceful. They will find some way around it (proxies, say), or someone else who knows. Once one student knows a way around it, the whole campus knows.

Recently our uplink set a packet filter blocking all packats to I lobbied against this, and stressed that this wasn't a solution to the problem. Blocking content _is_ censorship. While I am sympathetic to the problem, censoring people is simply wrong. The filter was dropped a few days later; I hope my arguments had a hand in persuading them. :)

I currently impose bandwidth throttling on the interface that connects to our campus residence. This seems to work reasonably well and I would recommend this to any network admin over packet filtering.


Re:As a former university sysadmin (3)

humphrm (18130) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235797)

I agree with you on the Napster issue as well as just about every other point you make. I also don't believe that it's censorship more than it's trying to control bandwidth and legal exposure.

One place that I do have a problem is when public schools make sweetheart deals with long-distance carriers in return for kickbacks. They force their students to use one carrier from their dorm rooms under the auspices of cheaper rates, when in fact they are taking some of the savings themselves. Now, don't get me wrong -- I think that public schools should try to save money (or generate it) wherever possible to save both the taxpayers and the students money.

However, banning IP long distance phone calls is an active conflict of interest. It puts the school into a position of protecting their preferred long distance carrier's market by controlling their network.

What I suggest is not that schools should give up controlling their networks, but that they should be more careful in choosing who they make exclusive agreements with, or if they should at all. These agreements with LD carriers put them in an exposed position and tie their hands when they want to later control network bandwidth, and they are just plain no good.

In the last few years, it's almost been a free-for-all with schools making exclusive agreements with everyone from Microsoft to all the long distance carriers to Subway and even credit card companies. But these agreements come at a price that administrators don't yet realize: the integrity of their school's goal to provide education, not business relationships.

Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (3)

deter (68461) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235800)

I work for core networking for the Univ. of Missouri and am a student who uses Napster.

I understand the problem. I mean, several weeks ago one res-hall (250 students) was cranking out 35 MBit (all Napster/MP3). We have a 45MBit link to the Internet. We put a filter on the router just to count # of packets going to the Napster server - several hundred per second. That just to the server, NOT mp3 files going across the wire.

I can understand turning it off. Although we started with the biggest offenders at first - that doesn't work. It's the large number of people using it - not several major offenders.

So how to nail it? filter out anything to that class C - fine. That'll work temporarily. Proxy's are abundant. DNS it - they'll use external DNS servers. The only viable way I know of to really shut it down is possibly to shut off ICMP inbound. Although I'm going to try to write a filter that would nail the Napster protocol. Blocking ICMP would suck, but it would work. If anyone knows a better idea, please please let me know.

Brent Deterding
Univsity of Missouri - Columbia
Data Network Planning & Support - Core Group
Research Computing Group
Grader - CECS 253 (UNIX)

SSU - Salisbury State University, Salisbury, MD (3)

Oscarfish (85437) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235802)

This is an excerpt from the most recent Information Technology e-mail newsletter, where the helpdesk people try to tell us there's nothing wrong with the Novell network here (it's slower than a 33.6 line from lunch to dinner):

  • New Stuff

    Napster and other bandwidth hogging programs can cause slow Internet connections for everyone

    The Chronicle of Higher Education published the following article in the issue dated February 25, 2000. Salisbury State University is facing similar bandwidth issues with the proliferation of Napster and similar programs, plus other bandwidth stealing applications such as Spinner, Real Player, WinAmp (when used to receive Shoutcast Stations) and Instant Messenger programs such as AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger, and ICQ. As a consideration, please be aware that using these programs during peak hours (usually 9 AM to 9 PM) causes the network to slow significantly, so please try to limit your use of these programs (especially the Napster-like programs and the streaming audio programs like Spinner, etc) to non-peak hours. In this way, we can ensure that the Internet is available at an acceptable level of speed to everyone that needs it.

    "Napster, a tool for finding MP3 audio files online, is causing headaches among network administrators -- not because of its potential for copyright infringement, but because when students use it en masse they can clog even high-bandwidth campus Internet connections.

    A growing number of universities have responded to the resulting congestion by cutting off the software's access to the Internet.

    The program runs on personal computers and allows a user to share his or her collection of MP3 files. MP3's on users' hard drives are made available for both searches and downloads over the Internet by anyone else who runs the program. At peak times, this network of Napster users can offer access to several hundred gigabytes of data, or hundreds of thousands of individual files.

    At any given time, each user can be sending and receiving dozens of files. Multiply that by hundreds of students on one campus, and the consequence can be a serious traffic jam.

    "We found that, on average, that particular program was using 10 to 40 percent of our campus Internet bandwidth," says Marjorie F. Proell, communications director for Saint Cloud State University, in Minnesota. "There were times it peaked even at 60 percent."

    Such high traffic can slow down everyone else's use of the Internet, whether for surfing, for transferring scholarly journal articles, or even just for sending mail. "It was reducing the speed and reliability of our Internet services, which is something that's felt by everyone on campus --students, staff, and faculty," says Ms. Proell. In October, network engineers at Oregon State University noticed increased Internet traffic, which they traced to Napster. "It was using 5 percent of O.S.U.'s total bandwidth going out of the university," says Christopher White, the administrator for the university's residential network. That percentage "doesn't sound like a lot, but it is -- a real, real lot," he says. By November, Napster was using up 10 percent of the bandwidth.

    At first, administrators responded by calling students who were using the program and telling them that such bandwidth-hogging programs violated the university's policies on acceptable use of the network. But when it became clear that hundreds of students were using the program, officials decided to block the network channel that carries Napster traffic.

    "If we had let it go much longer, I think we definitely would have had serious problems," says Mr. White.

    Other institutions have reported similar traffic problems. Institutions that have reportedly banned the program include Boston, North Carolina State, and Northwestern Universities, and the Universities of New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, and Texas. Institutions don't just face slow Web connections as a result of Napster -- they can face significant Internet access costs as well. According to Curtis R. Pederson, Oregon State's vice provost for information services, Napster was costing the university about $1,500 per month at the time it was shut off.

    The university normally spends $12,000 to $15,000 a month for Internet access. Mr. Pederson says the university is planning to hold a forum with students to talk about "Internet use and ethics, and the reality of the budget." Other institutions have had similar meetings.

    Administrators who have blocked access to Napster say that bandwidth is their main concern, rather than the continuing controversy over MP3 files, which are often used to illegally transmit copyrighted music. The Recording Industry Association of America is pursuing a lawsuit against the makers of Napster because of the ease with which the program lets users share pirated music.

    The association also regularly requests that colleges shut down online archives of illegal MP3's on campus networks and has created an educational campaign intended to teach students about copyright law.

    Oregon State's Mr. White says the decision to block the program was definitely made easier by Napster's illicit uses. "If it was a program that had real educational value to it, it probably would have been a lot harder," he says. But, he adds, "we wouldn't have even noticed it if it wasn't for the bandwidth issue."

BTW, I received this mail from my school account - one "powered" by Groupwise [] - but that's all I use that account for, because it's literally down as much as it is up. But I guess that's another story...

Colleges Can do what they want (3)

Mordred (104619) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235803)

I'm sorry but colleges should be allowed to do what they want with their bandwidth. Yeah, if I were in college and they banned napster I'd be pissed off. Would I understand the university's reasoning? Yes.

Three years ago when I lived on campus, I ran an mp3 FTP site. It was pretty popular for the few months it was public and I was able to serve about 100 gigs worth of stuff. I decided to cut back because the University did monitor that stuff and basically it's their bandwidth.

There is the arguement that you have to pay Computer Access fees. At Texas A&M where I went to school, that was all of $50 a semester. I pay that in one month for cable service. I don't really see how I can then justify saying that I pay $50 a semester I should be able to use all the bandwidth I want. My cable company asked me to stop running an FTP after 3 days and 1 gig served.

The thing is if your actions are negatively impacting other people, (and high bandwidth usage does!) then you have no right to complain if someone asks you to stop. Yeah it's fun to complain, but grow up people. Don't take it all so seriously.


Metered bandwidth? (3) (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235805)

Does this mean that if 100% of the bandwidth is not used you get a credit?

Can't load limits be implemented?

As a former university sysadmin (4)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235807)

You've got to remember what the University installs these networks for: learning. Not copyright infringement, and not telephone calls.

WRT napster: I am well aware that it could be used for the transfer of non-copyrighted MP3's. But the fact of the matter is that it is not. I will challenge anyone to show me that even 1% of the MP3's available on Napster are not copyrighted. And this thing is using 20% of the bandwidth on a lot of campuses! If students in fact own the CD's, why can't they just rip their own copies?

So don't talk to me about Napster. As for DialPad: that is also a purely economic decision in most cases. Yeah, it only eats about 20K/sec. But remember that's 20K/sec for hours on end. It adds up.

To call these censorship is to abuse the term censorship. Nobody is preventing you from saying ANYTHING! They are just choosing not to pay for you to say it! There's nothing stopping you from going out and getting your own ISP.

I'm sure many of you will claim that "this is just the start of censorhip" and "a little bit of censorship is like being a little bit pregnant". Here's the thing you've got to remember: when you cry "censorship" over petty stuff like this, you will not be able to get my attention when there really is censorship. For example, the DeCSS stuff is quite disturbing from a free speech point of view. But by hassling with, you are losing credibility for that battle.

Never cry wolf.


Re:Whats wrong with banning Napster? (4)

Rupert (28001) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235808)

Napster itself is legality-neutral (like almost all tools). Since today there is no way to distinguish between an illegal and a legal MP3, Napster can't be held responsible if people choose to use it to share the former as well as the latter.

OTOH Napster is a worse bandwidth hog than W2K's Active Directory. Both should be banned.

From a network management side..... (4)

Rasvar (35511) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235809)

Napster is pain in the butt and a bandwidth hog. If that is the real reason it is being blocked, I consider that a legit reason. Bandwidth is a finite item, even at universities. Yes, you can say that your dollars are paying for it. I would argue, if you want to say that, that there is a finite amount of bandwidth that you have paid for and after you have used it, your service is cut or you can pay for more. It is not cheap to throw in additional internet links. The end user has to be responsible in their usage.

Now on the censorship side, that is just not acceptable and should not be tolerated. Bandwidth mangement is one thing. Censoring is never the right reason.

Educate me on something.... (4)

Plankeye (72603) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235810)

How exactly could you ban Napster? I know you can use the "You are not allowed to run Napster" rule, but how does a university physically block the access? By blocking the ports? Looks like Napster could just work it's way around that with every beta release. I have heard on /. of universities blocking Napster and the next release working anyway.

Will this just be a never-ending war?


But we Pay (4)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235811)

Here at Cornell University we pay over $80 a semester for access to the Campus Network, it is in fact a money making endevour for them. There have been threats of crack downs on programs like Napster and sites like DialPad, but nothing yet. As I also work for the campus computing center running the email system, I know that we in fact do not have a bandwidth problem, however that is an easy excuse for them. If they want to make reduce access, fine, I don't agree with it, however they do then need to stop charging students. I am sure this is similar to other campuses as well. If your campus does do this the first thing you should do is change all the default ports on things like Napster (they block the port not the protocol) and look into proxys []

no bandwidth (4)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235813)

I wouldn't mind if my College (Snevets Institute of Technology) would ban Napster... Trying to do work that involves the Net is now close to impossible since the network is almost always completely clogged...

If it was up to me, I'd throw in another connection or something and limit Napster to a few machines or something. I dunno, I just feel frustrated that our 'state-of-the-art' network doesn't work for jack when 200 people are using Napster simultaneously.

Eh, I'll shut up now
Lord Omlette
AOL IM: jeanlucpikachu

Lots of things are wrong with it. (5)

Uruk (4907) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235816)

Generally speaking, in terms of the way laws are written and upheld, the use of mp3s would be upheld because although it has illicit uses, it also has legitimate uses. Think of the music students on campus who download recorded music from sites that make it freely available to the public for study and just for regular enjoyment. I've also known students who tape lectures of classes and make them available for other students via mp3.

Think about guns - guns are made to kill people. They are used in crimes every day all over the nation. But still, they are legal, because we recognize that they have legitimate uses. You can restrict the use of guns, and you might even reduce crime, (I don't actually believe that, but that's an entirely different story) but you'd be giving up a portion of your freedom to do that. Similarly, you can ban mp3s, and you may reduce the amount of IP theft, or lower your bandwidth utilization, but you're giving something up. Namely, the positive aspects of downloading mp3s, and also, the students freedom to be in an environment that allows them to expand themselves as they see fit, not as the university sees fit.

I can kinda sympathize with the bandwidth argument, but I really hate it when people change things midstream. If you come onto the university network, and sign an agreement saying "by signing this you agree not to do x, y, or z" then you have a choice, and you can go elsewhere. On the other hand, if you invest in a NIC for your student network, and then have regulations piled on you never agreed to, that's different, because you weren't given a choice.

It's their bandwidth, right? So they're completely justified in monitoring and restricting all traffic, including all your outgoing email and communication and logging them. That's just not fair, and it's somewhat absurd. They're fighting a losing battle anyway. If they ban napster, somebody will figure out how to run it on a differnent port, or will just move to another service.

Quality of Service (5)

Jeff Ballard (25222) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235817)

There is a better way for universities to handle the situation. From their perspective its eating bandwith... but they can assign quality of service levels at their routers (and presumedly at their ISP routers as well) and then they could use all of their bandwidth.

For instance, you can say the following:

  1. First, let all traffic not defined below go first (SMTP, NTP, etc) -- basically all non-classified traffic
  2. Then if theres bandwidth left over, all web traffic,
  3. Then if theres bandwidth left over, all IP telephony traffic,
  4. Then if theres bandwidth left over, all Napster traffic.
(Insert other bandwidth hogging apps or reprioritize as necessary)

Basically this is probably the best for all worlds, since then the Napster users can try to hammer the network all they want. They just will have their packets dropped first. This will allow them to actually use *ALL* of their network.

Whats wrong with banning Napster? (5)

stab (26928) | more than 13 years ago | (#1235818)

Well, Napster is clearly a software product that is used almost exclusively to pirate MP3s, it leeches up a lot of bandwidth, and has some pretty bad security holes that means that potentially the client can be forced to serve up any file to a malicious Napster server.

What's wrong with universities banning it? Clearly, they cannot condone the flagrant ripping of MP3's on campus. I'm sure they'd do the same if they found 10000 warez sites running on their students' boxes.

I'm not saying that censorship is a good thing, just that in this case I fail to see how this is construed as censorship, given that using the application for anything other than illegal activities is fairly hard. 5% of university bandwidth is a hell of a lot as well.
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