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USC To Students: No Sharing Files

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the and-you-were-expecting-what-exactly dept.

Education 435

jukal writes: "copy-paste from a Wired article: 'Students at the University of Southern California could face a school year without computer access if they are busted swapping movies and music online. In an e-mail message to all students, school officials warned that using peer-to-peer file-trading services could force the university to kick students off the network. '"

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Even if it's MY Music? (3, Insightful)

Squareball (523165) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262567)

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

Re:Even if it's MY Music? (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262581)

Not with the University's resources. Get yer own DSL.

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

Re:Even if it's MY Music? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262669)

Are they still the university's resources when they contract with me to provide a service for a fee? If so, perhaps you should reconsider your relationship with your own internet provider, natch? An even better example would be to consider the housing system. I pay a fee to live on campus. In effect, I am a de facto tenant. As a tenant, I have certain rights. Primarily, the campus cannot waive my rights concerning search and seizure.

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

Re:Even if it's MY Music? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262747)

Because all operating systems are written by programmers, I assume that any operating system is much smarter than me. Thus, any good operating system should try to outsmart me by restricting my options at every turn. Linux, like all versions of Unix, is lousy at restricting my options because at the command line virtually any operation can be performed with ease. (For example, 'rm -rf /win' could 'delete an entire mounted directory, with no popup window warnings whatsoever.)

I'm proud to say that there is no such danger in XP. Windows pop up when I want to make a change, and then more pop up to ask if I'm sure I want the change. Thankfully, Windows XP looks after my computer's well-being by occasionally switching configuration settings from the way I want them to what the OS programmers think they might probably ought to be. Boy, I'm just impressed with how smart they are. Once I learned to live with whatever the default settings are on any new hardware I install, I can't say the number of hours I have saved.

I use that spare time to reboot my Windows XP machine multiple times a day. Technical support personnel recommend that I do it regularly-- kind of like brushing my teeth. To help remind me of this necessity, windows pop up to tell me to reboot whenever I make a configuration change. By now my machine is minty fresh, I figure.

There is no such useful rebooting in a Linux system. It is as reliable as the sunrise, with uptimes in weeks, months and years. Virtually no configuration change requires a reboot, to boot. Imagine all that plaque in the computer. Gross!

In XP I am prevented from making dangerous fundamental configuration changes unless I use a special "registry editor". I have found it so useful to have this separate editor that I hope in future versions they go all the way and supply a separate editor for each file on the disk-- in that way windows could pop up at every keystroke to warn me that changing any line in the file I am editing could cause the system to not run properly. If this were only the case, people would finally learn that it is best to just stick with the mouse and they would be freed of the need to constantly move their hands back to the keyboard. (If one stops to think about it, the mouse is a much better device to use than the keyboard. Ever hear of someone getting carpal tunnel syndrome from a mouse? No. It's comfortable and ergonomic. Like Morse code devices. That's how long distance communication started, after all.)

Linux, by contrast, requires no special editor to change configuration files. The fact that there is no "registry" in Linux allows the abomination of using any text editor whatsoever to do the configuration. Can you believe that configuration files are usually stored clear text? Talk about dangerous!

I am also happy to report that I have experienced no truth to the rumor that Windows disks become corrupt after improper shutdowns. Indeed, I have been forced to improperly shutdown the machine innumerable times after it locks up, and I have no apparent problems to report regarding the disk. No such claim can be made for Linux. They say something about lack of data points. Excuses are all I ever seem to hear from the Linux crowd.

By sheer size alone, Windows XP beats Linux hands down. It is so much bigger, it is _obvious_ that it is better. Why would you want a small OS with the large disks and RAM sizes we have these days? For this reason alone, I heartily recommend Windows as a way to maximize resource utilization. Your CPU and disk will constantly be pegged to the limit, the way god intended. The Linux kernel and drivers accounts for only about 750KB. Why, even the Microsoft Win16 subsystem uses more space than that.

It is no surprise that Windows XP costs $300 on the retail market and Linux doesn't cost anything. People know what they want, and they want Windows XP. Because Linux is free, that means it's basically worthless. The same goes for all the development tools, remotable GUIs, and applications, which all cost money for Windows (i.e., are worth something) and free for Linux (worthless!).

Installing software is very easy in Windows XP. I usually slip in CDs without even reading instructions or warnings, and just double click on whatever window pops up. There is no need to read anything or touch the keyboard. (Did I mention that I hate that thing?) Well, OK, I have learned the hard way the machine locks up if I don't take the time to close all other applications.

Linux, by contrast, requires typing on the keyboard to get anything to install at all. And you always have to know the NAME of program you want to install. For example, in Slackware, you have to type "pkgtool" to install a program. Linux needs to get with the 21st century!

Windows XP follows the DOS convention of putting \r\n at the end of every line of a text file. While this is only a mild concern because of the relative rarity of text files on Windows machines these days-- thank god--it helps to differentiate between the text files and the other files. Sadly, Linux makes no distinction between text and other files.

If I legitimately purchase Windows XP, I can call Microsoft customer support to get help with my problems. After a short hold time of an hour or so, they always help me. Ever since I told them that I was dual booting to Linux, they were able to flag my account and now each time I call even the entry level support personnel I am connected to say that Linux is the source of my problems. Everyone seems to agree that Linux is no good. The more I listen, the more I'm impressed with the knowledge of the support staff there.

By contrast, in Linux, all I have is stockpiles of resources and documentation that I would actually have to read in order to understand. Sure, I could obtain Linux support from a commercial organization, but they would probably just tell me I have to use a text editor to fix up my system.

In the end, I have no need for that old computer donkey Unix. I don't need to run big Unix tasks, after all. I refuse to become one of those a bug-eyed computer users, that's for sure. As soon as I can keep Windows XP from crashing for long enough, I'm going to delete my Linux partition, i.e., the equivalent of moving it to the recycle bin, saying that I'm sure, emptying the recycle bin, and again saying that I'm sure I want to empty it.

Re:Even if it's MY Music? (3, Informative)

parliboy (233658) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262712)

I did. They ramp that down, too.

Re:Even if it's MY Music? (2)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262585)

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

Hey.. ya ever consider reading the article?

fro, the article:
The e-mail outlines the definition of copyright violations, particularly with respect to making copies of movies and music.

Of course not :) (1)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262588)

Of course not. Everyone knows that people who share music don't do it for legitimate purposes. People who share files are merely criminals.

And besides, no 'criminals' who do filesharing posess the creativity necessary to craft their own music or art.

(Apologies to those who miss the sarcasm)

No. The issue is bandwidth I would think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262592)

Of course they want to stop piracy as well, but I think the bigger issue would be bandwidth.

Re:Even if it's MY Music? (4, Informative)

jareds (100340) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262599)

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

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

What the fuck use are campus LANs without warez? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262568)

Might as well get better housing off-campus then and use a modem ...

Rabbits are Here! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262570)

First rabbit post

Re:Rabbits are Here! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262760)

Are you by any chance trying to "hop" on the first slug bandwagon ?

anata no usagi baka desu.

Translation (4, Insightful)

RomSteady (533144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262573)

If you're going to do it, use a dial-up account with your own ISP, because we can't afford all of the bandwidth.

Re:Translation (1)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262598)

Further translation: In addition, we also do not want to invite the money-hungry RIAA lawyers to our doorstep.

Re:Translation (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262609)

Reasearch better ways of getting around us banning you, and hopefully improve the network performance of the system.

It's an education network afterall.

Re:Translation (2)

Istealmymusic (573079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262623)

Is it okay to set up a 54Mbps 802.11g wireless network to waste bandwidth? I personally don't swap music at school, but I'd like to know the possibilities of high-bitrate streaming media across campus, and other bandwidth-intensive operations.

Re:Translation (2)

RomSteady (533144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262634)

The university most likely does not pay for traffic inside of its own network unless they pay a local provider for the infrastructure.

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

Re:Translation (1)

MrHat (102062) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262625)

And that'd make a lot of sense if the ban was limited to the public internet. It's not.

Re:Translation (2)

RomSteady (533144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262681)

I understand that...I was merely trying to answer his direct question, not the unsaid comment that lurked beneath.

I also understand that with current P2P clients, it is nearly impossible to limit your traffic to a local network without a consistent configuration among ALL clients on the local network. If even a single client on the local network is allowed to connect to the outside world, the rest of the P2P local network is opened as well.

These clients do chew up a lot of bandwidth. I wonder if any universities have done the same studies that some ISP's recently did.

Technology is better than Policy (0)

bluhatter (583867) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262653)

Ha har har

Perhaps some of these Universities might consider capping the bandwidth limit for students if it's really that big of an issue. Really, if it's bandwidth they're after, then why not buy better bandwidth? It should be the University's responsibility, not the student's.

On the other hand, if they're worried about copyrighted material, and they are, then hats off to them for bowing to the fecal lords.

Good (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262574)

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

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

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262620)

there not going after the *pirates* as such, all the copyright material I share is as a off site backup for those people who may have corrupt or stolen CD's and want to retrive a copy from archive.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262636)

Why not put up a firewall and block the data or better yet throttle those p2p ports to the point that they are crippled. Thats what the IT dept did at my school. You timeout every time you try to use P2P. Sharing over the local network should not matter if its a 100mbps. I think this is a poor move by the school. To 18 year old kids its an bulls@it threat.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262676)

Blockquoth the poster:

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

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

Re:Good (2, Flamebait)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262735)

but it doesn't matter

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

Hey USC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262576)

Way to spark innovation! It was attitudes like this that led to all the great technological achievment from universities... NOT

Uh oh! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262578)

Now all the students are going to need to learn how to run anonymous FTP servers and use FTP clients. We certainly wouldn't want to make supposedly tech-savvy students learn how to do something more difficult than double-click a few times.

Even SMB filesharing? (3, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262579)

Hrm, here at ISU the local campus LAN is just about all anyone needs. Would kinda suck if people couldn't use that anymore...

Re:Even SMB filesharing? (5, Informative)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262615)

Yeah. If you have sharescan [] and a college network, who needs Napster/Gnutella/WinMX/Kazaa?

Re:Even SMB filesharing? (2, Informative)

grazzy (56382) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262719)

if everyone on the network used a program like that the net would be swamped. netbios isnt exactly the most pretty protocol, use a centralized server like waesch ( ) or untzuntzlan ( ) instead.

Re:Even SMB filesharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262753)

Or the universities could just stop netbios broadcasts at the firewall.

Re:Even SMB filesharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262675)

Over here at RIT they just placed a firewall rule to ban external access to SMB shares (a few idiots with null admin passwords on XP/2k machines caused that). So in reality, that'd work perfectly. Of course, someone thought ahead and setup an IP filtered P2P network for on campus only...

Re:Even SMB filesharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262764)

Iowa State University? Or Idaho? If it's Iowa, what tools and settings should I use? If it's Idaho, then never mind.

Good (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262580)

File sharing is a form of stealing which is destroying our economy. The damage it does is comparable to terrorism.

Your an ass... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262602)

what a bunch of crap. I wish a terr would slap you in your butt

Re:Your(sic) an ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262654)

You should learn to write properly. If you wish to call me an ass, you should use "you're" (abbreviation for "you are"), not "your" (possessive). So what you meant to say was "Your'e an ass".

Just shape them (3, Insightful)

WetCat (558132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262589)

Put traffic shaper on them - let them use equivalent of 28800 modem. Just enough for browsing the web and work but lousy for file sharing...

MOD PARENT UP (0, Offtopic)

RobertTaylor (444958) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262612)

cracking idea :)

Re:Just shape them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262671)

What about video confrencing with other students from other universities... etc....
And downloading software/pron etc....

I don't blame them. (1)

goatasaur (604450) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262590)

If I had the RIAA breathing down my neck about this, I'd do the same thing. Better to go along with this issue than to tie up god knows how much money in court costs.

Yeah, good bye... (4, Funny)

flamingdog (16938) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262594)

You think I'm paying to go to school so I can learn? I'm paying for 5 years of quick music, movies, and porn, damn it. Turn off my network access and I'm going to community college.

This is nothing new (4, Interesting)

krin (519611) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262595)

This has been happening at colleges all over for some time. Last year when I was still living on campus they sent out letters to each room saying something similar to this. Everyone did it anyway. I never understood why they didnt just filter them out .. but I didn't work in the IT department. Anyway, the guys upstairs found a few wi-fi networks in the area and ran a cat5 out the window and down to our room so we had unrestricted (and suprisingly faster) access then the rest of the campus.

That's right.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262596)

Schools in! Get back to work you slackers! ;)

Proxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262604)

Ok well anyone who is in the CIS program should know how to setup the following. Make a secure tunnel connection into your friends cable modem/dsl service using ssh. Setup up a proxy on that friends box and then use it to connect outside to these servers. Just use a socks proxy running on port 80 to connect. This way the traffic will be encrypted over your network it will look like you are connecting to port 80 on that box and even if they have a sniffer setup they will only see jarbled ssh traffic.

[Cooper Union, NYC] My school already does that... (4, Insightful)

izx (460892) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262607)

My school/univ, The Cooper Union, is supposed to be a top-ranking undergraduate engineering college (per US News rankings), but in the dorms (aka "student residence") here, ANY kind of file sharing is banned. The admins have taken proactive measures, including blocking ALL inbound access, and blocking ALL one/two-way UDP traffic. Only outbound TCP is allowed...and "criminal" ports like 1214 (Kazaa), 6699 (WinMX) and a host of other ports are blocked.

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

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

But hey, in case you didn't know, the Cooper Union is the only 4-year private univ in the US that gives a full-tuition scholarship worth about $100k over four years to every student admitted!

Re:[Cooper Union, NYC] My school already does that (1)

jareds (100340) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262619)

But hey, in case you didn't know, the Cooper Union is the only 4-year private univ in the US that gives a full-tuition scholarship worth about $100k over four years to every student admitted!

How do they determine the value of the scholarship if they don't charge any tuition?

Re:[Cooper Union, NYC] My school already does that (1)

izx (460892) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262762)

First check my reply to the other guy with the same question here [] .

Then for the official line, go here (brief) [] , and here (complete history). []

Also, it's in beer. Unlike the Defense Academies, which are also technically free and even give you something extra, we do not have ANY kind of bond/obligation to Cooper Union after we graduate.

By the way, it's free because that was the founding principle of the college. The founder, Peter Cooper, wanted to provide education to "the boys and girls of this city", that was "as free as the water and air."

Re:[Cooper Union, NYC] My school already does that (1)

dukeblue219 (212029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262662)

If they give a scholarship to every student, then how do they make money, and how do they value the scholarships? I could say that my public high school gives away ten billion dollar full tuition scholarships to every student...

Re:[Cooper Union, NYC] My school already does that (1)

izx (460892) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262706)

1. It's NOT public, but private.

2. They don't make money off students. Zero. Nada. Zilch. They subsist off of their endowment, donations from alumni and grants for research.

3. If you will look here [] , you will see that the Cooper Union is ranked third in the list. The top school in the list, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, has a sticker-value tuition price of $33k. Considering that, I think $25k is a very fair assessment of Cooper's yearly tuition fee, assuming they charged one!

4. Your taxes pay exactly zero cents of my education. My taxes PAID a chunk of you public school education. Your analogy sounds makes as much sense as the UDP block I talked about in the original post.

Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (5, Informative)

bwhaley (410361) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262725)

I work for ITS at CU Boulder. We have very similar things in place here as well. Ours is a bit different, however. When a student moves in to the dorms they have to sign a document, a bit like a EULA. Nobody reads it. When browsing through the fine print you come across two interesting points (no link available, here they are in English):

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

WAP's are bad news

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

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

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


Same here... (0)

madhatter01 (301650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262608)

I go to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Here, If you are caught sharing files on P2P networks, you lose your connection for the remainder of the semester. One of the easiest ways we learned to get around this was to disable sharing files with other users, as most p2p programs allow. While this may seem really strict, its not necessarily a copyright/lawsuit thing the universities are worried about, it is a bandwidth issue. If you were to share files at any time, do it at night, because i work for the computer department and we are less likeley to report bandwidth hogs if there is no class in session.

Misleading article title (4, Interesting)

Istealmymusic (573079) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262610)

Slashdot: "No Sharing Files". The article: "year without computer access if they are busted swapping movies and music online."

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

Re:Misleading article title (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262691)

I've got a few CD's full of mp3's I could stick in the post if anyone wants.

That's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262613)

University is a place where you study, it's not a place where you swap porno movies!

I have only one thing to say.... (1, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262616)


Re:I have only one thing to say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262667)

that's fine.

a couple of guys/gals need to gets some 802.11a access points and create their own WAN on campus. Since most campus' are going wirelessly anyway, the students should already have a wireless card.

imagine the speed of swapping on a large scale CLOSED network P2P!?!?!??!

The student's will not connect to the university for music, they will just connect to the P2P network.

They should have done this long ago (2, Troll)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262617)

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

Re:They should have done this long ago (1)

xWeston (577162) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262624)

I agree entirely... People dont know how to use the software (or just use it too much) and will leave it open and allow everybody to download 1gig of music from them. I could barely check my email during my first semester of college at a private university (about $24,000 per year) because of this.

Re:They should have done this long ago (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262718)

How is downloading an ISO of a linux distro an efficent use of bandwidth? Are you actually installing linux via CD?

Re:They should have done this long ago (1)

ealar dlanvuli (523604) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262733)

I especially loved the amazingly bright people who chose to do it over our wireless network at school. Downloading 20 songs at once completly stops everyone elses packets in thier tracks.

The problem with that, it's amazingly easy to completly flood a wireless AP if you have a crapy nic that dosen't allow others to talk, and there is no possibility for the school to add a switch and resolve the issue.

Re:They should have done this long ago (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262759)

I'm sick and fucking tired of the retards who download tarballs and linux iso's on my University's network. Thanks to them, during the first and last two weeks of each semester, I see my bandwidth get killed (which I use for legitimate purposes, downloading free music mp3's, downloading winamp software ). Everytime I see some moron running linux, It is all I can do to avoid purchasing a lethal weapon and killing them.

michael (2, Funny)

six (1673) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262629)

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

this could explain that ...

Good. (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262630)

The network is capable of preventing crime, and now someone's actually doing it.

The issue is probably bandwidth (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262632)

I go to a university, we havent got huge pipes, this is the University of Kansas (go jayhawks) I lived on campus, and the bandwidth being sucked out by the dorms was so intense you couldnt barely do ANYTHING online, at any time, on ANY part of the network. Last year they increased prices and then only allowed half the universities bandwidth to the dorms, now when on campus you can actually get online and download files fast again as long as you are in a computer lab. OFC when I was still living on campus I ssh into the lab machines, wget the files i needed to the machines hard drive then downloaded it across the network, but The only reason I was able to even do that was because of them making only half the bandwidth available to students in the dorms. Maybe some of you dont know the issues at colleges, maybe some of you live at KU and dont download HUGE files (say Debian ISO). Or maybe you think 15 k a second max is "fast" but Universities are doing this to protect themselves, the networks just die under the loads, at least KU did, and I can see why other colleges might be taking measures, its to ensure that each student doesnt have to pay 70 bucks a month. Considering students got high speed internet for 12 bucks a mont, you cant complain. Because of filesharers it went UP to 12 a month, it used to be 7 dollars a month, and it was faster.

Re:The issue is probably bandwidth (1)

erichj (445099) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262643)

i would think the issue would be legality.

Re:The issue is probably bandwidth (1)

servo8 (572) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262743)

I know exactly what you mean. When I attended KU last year, I lived in one of the Scholarship Halls , and my connections were always abysmal. I blame it mostly on P2P (hell, I can remember someone touting about a LotR VCD like it was some major prize), but I think another major issue was the network design:
While the hall itself had a nice big switch, there was only one jack in each room. With 4 people per room, that meant a *lot* of hubs, which I imagine degraded network throughput quite a bit.

As an interesting but unrelated sidenote, the building was somehow constructed such that it blocked WiFi really well. Even with my WAP modded for higher power, I was lucky if I could go a few feet from my room and stay connected.

Our local college does that too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262638)

Marist College, our local liberal arts college, does that too. They say that the extra traffic pulls the network speed down to a trickle. I believe them.

Re:Our local college does that too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262677)

So Marxist College doesn't allow file sharing! That's a hoot. I thought Marxists believe that your property is my property. Marxists usually preach IP theft as a desirable goal. We seem to have a gulf here between theory and practice, don't we?

Negroes will disobey this rule (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262645)

Can you imagine the university telling some Negroes not to do this? Ha ha. Those colored boys will laugh in their face.

Negroes are born criminals. [] Nothing short of incarceration can prevent a Negro from preying on society. The sage course of action would be to remove all Negroes and Spics from the university. An honest person realizes that it is the only way you can insure compliance, and provide a safe environment for learning.

Skidmore College (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262650)

Skidmore, which is a $35,000 a year school, has set their routers to "deprioritize" packets flying to and from common P2P ports, but all the other ports fly fast. I believe for that kind of tuition, the school should come up with a way to give every student good bandwidth to do whatever they want, even if it means giving everyone their own DSL line out of the school.

Because students are taking up all the bandwidth redundantly downloading the same files from outside the school, I offered to run an OpenNap-like server so the bandwidth used would only be internal bandwidth. The administration wasn't interested.

Throttling (1)

harks (534599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262651)

My school has a great compromise: It throttles all the ports for things like Kazaa, etc, to something like 5-10 kbps. Good enough for mp3s, keeps the bandwidth down for other uses.

UCF does the same thing (2, Informative)

dotgod (567913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262656)

At the University of Central Florida, they have a no p2p policy also. I got caught last year and had to pay (about) $30 to go to a "computer usage" workshop for an hour. 20 minutes of the hour were spent watching an episode of Futorama. Students who got caught twice had their network access permanently revoked. The letter that I recieved gave me a URL that contained the "evidence" (in the form of a SniffIt screenshot) that I was using a p2p network.

music/movies or all files? (2, Insightful)

bp33 (24229) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262657)

The wired article doesn't make it clear if all P2P activity is banned or just movies and music. I suspect from an administrative standpoint they'll shut down the whole P2P thing rather than check to see what is being shared, and if you have legal right to distribute it (e.g. photos from last weekend's kegger).

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

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

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

All three are temporary gains but they must think that's better than nothing. Once again we see somebody attacking the symptom (P2P) rather than the problem (stealing copyrighted works).

At my school... (2)

kenneth_martens (320269) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262659)

At my university (private school in east Texas) there is no official policy on using filesharing programs. However, if you use too much bandwidth the other students will track you down and make you pay. I remember one day when I stepped out of my room and saw a lynch mob headed my direction. Fortunately I convinced them it wasn't me. (And it really wasn't, either.) I don't think they would have believed me, but I let them examine my computer for themselves.

who's bad? (1)

doq (126365) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262660)

wrote USC dean of libraries Jerry Campbell and vice president of student affairs Michael Jackson in the e-mail.

No wonder, its the king of pop! He wants his royalties :(

We've been doign it since the begining of the year (1)

Nicholas_D (548536) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262663)

here at URI we have a packeteer.. we have 55 megs of bandwidth , 10 of that is p2p, we limit it to 10, 20 burstable... so we ALWAYS have bandwidth for everything else we also cap the outbound to 5 megs.. we cut off direct connect and hotline and such.. and we have been kicking people off only if we get an e-mail from the MPAA or RIAA.. othe rthan that we could care less.

in my school, (2)

fault0 (514452) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262670)

in my school (georgia tech), we just use something called buzzsearch [] , it's a webbased windows shares/samba scanning/indexing/searching service. The source for it is available on sourceforge, so people at other schools can start their own services. So far, all p2p networks are allowed, including kazaa, imesh, gnutella, etc..

Re:in my school, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262692)

It's a good thing ResNet is not taking away our file sharing =P

No sharing movies of music (0)

utdpenguin (413984) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262680)

but I guess warez is alright? :)


aergern (127031) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262683)

People need to remember that you can /dcc send to people on IRC. :)

heavy hand/closed mind (2, Interesting)

octalgirl (580949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262685)

All this banning seems extreme. I know of a couple of kids (one at Penn State) that follow a more reasonable rule. Students are given a basic set of etiquette rules, and warned about downloading copyrighted material. Each student is given a limited amount of bandwidth per month, which is monitored. If they go over, they better have a good reason, or they'll lose their net privileges for the rest of the term. This method allows for high tech access to information, and educates them at the same time. Isn't that what school is for?

Other schools... (2)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262700)

...give you a basic bandwidth per month, and if you want to go over, you have to fork out lots more per month.

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

So.. (2)

redcliffe (466773) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262688)

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

They'll just be forced to adapt (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262689)

I'm sure people will find a workaround. Wireless, sharing over https, SSH, anything encrypted with SSL... it shouldn't be hard to get around it.

Same policy recently announced here. (2)

SagSaw (219314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262694)

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

Mnet and Freenet: what about those? (1)

icepick (17241) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262697)

It would be intresting to see what happens to the students who where like me and had to test edge cases of the rules (I was a unit test in the rules!).

In both Mnet ( and Freenet you don't know what you are actually sharing, just that the software is managing a part of your hard drive. In Mnet you most likely don't even have a full file to share with others, only a small percentage of the file.

I attend USC (5, Informative)

zurmikopa (460568) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262708)

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

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

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

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

USC also seems to take complaints about the students overly seriously. My friend got spam sent to him to which he replied "Fuck you" along with some other unpleasentness. The spammer complained to USC who sent my friend a warning about proper conduct.

Peer to peer legal in Canada, says me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262710)

IANAL, but I have had some legal training... My interpretation of a certain section of Canada's Copyright Act says the usage of peer to peer systems is 100% legal in Canada.

Copying for Private Use

80. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of

(a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording,
(b)a performer's performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording, or
(c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer's performance of a musical work, is embodied

onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer's performance or the sound recording.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the act described in that subsection is done for the purpose of doing any of the following in relation to any of the things referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c):

(a) selling or renting out, or by way of trade exposing or offering for sale or rental;
(b) distributing, whether or not for the purpose of trade;
(c) communicating to the public by telecommunication; or
(d) performing, or causing to be performed, in public.

According to this, someone who downloads music from a peer to peer service and does not share their downloads is absolutely not breaking the law.

80.(2)(b) is ambiguous enough that charges could probably be filed against someone sharing their copyrighted files on a peer to peer service, but interpretation would be left to the courts.

80.(2)(c) refers to broadcasts, including streaming audio. Where the downloader has made the copy of the file himself by downloading in advance of hearing the song, this should not apply, although this too could be challenged and go to court.

Essentially, leeching is legal, period. Sharing is questionable. One could go at least to your provincial court of appeals on this, possibly to the SCC.

The peer to peer services themselves are committing no crimes, and should be scott-free in Canada.

Different Here at VT (2)

Kirby-meister (574952) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262715)

At Virginia Tech (Go Hokies, #7), the way we deal with filesharers is a lot more interesting. If a certain port in the dorm is noticed for downloading/uploading quite a huge load from the same provider(s) for a few days, the person gets put on a T1 or a 256Kb DSL line until they shape up.

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

Guess where the next gen p2p app will come from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262717)

Tech savvy students + tech restrictions = new technology.

Its as simple as that. I look forward to what they come out with. Sure, you could argue that they could get around it with SSH etc, but I would love to see a nice p2p app with encryption and compressed streams as part of the built-in architecture.

Off the subject but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262722)

Does anyone know where the general public can get information about cd sale trends? (aka purchases per specific dates for specific releases in specific geographic locations)

The actual email (5, Informative)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262724)

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

Jerry D. Campbell Dean of Libraries and Chief Information Officer

Michael L. Jackson Vice President for Student Affairs

Re:The actual email (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262751)

To give you people a background and a somewhat informed opinion of their motives, a couple years ago they started placing bandwidth caps on users (something ridiculous that you could pretty much only exceed if you ran a file sharing server all day long) because of a significant number of users taking up way too much bandwidth. Our ISD department has always remind students that piracy is illegal, so this does not represent a significant change in university policy. What I guess is that under some pressure from the RIAA, MPAA, and/or rich influential alumni in the music or film industry that they have decided to start cracking down on pirates.

I like our policy here at GATech. (2)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262727)

Just make sure you shut of sharing with other users :)

location, location, location (1)

Dr. Network (520477) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262729)

Does anyone find the proximity of USC to Hollywood relavent in this decision ? Perhaps some wealthy alumni are also in cahoots with the MPAA/RIAA ? This just makes me suspicious as hell.

Intranet (1)

Ryan Stortz (598060) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262737)

In an e-mail message to all students, school officials warned that using peer-to-peer file-trading services could force the university to kick students off the network.

Yeah, but I'm sure they can still get away with setting up a local gnutella server on the intranet. They're probably only monitoring incoming traffic.

today (1, Flamebait)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262738)

I downloaded unreal tournament 2003 demo off of kazaa (using kazaa lite). I wouldn't have been able to get it off any of the commercial servers as there is alot of traffic on them from eager unreal fans. P2P really is the future for downloading large files, it's to bad USC is trying to keep its students back in the stone age.

OR... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262752)

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

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

Seems pretty "boiler-plate" to me.... (2)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 11 years ago | (#4262758)

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

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

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

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

whatever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4262763)

Slashdot: News for warez d00dz, Stuff that's leet.

What are you 15?

Who gives a fuck.

If you're in college you shouldn't be acting like a little warez d00d anyways.

Grow up ya silly fucks.
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