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CMU Cuts off Net Access for 71 Students Over MP3s

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the nosing-around-in-student-files dept.

Music 523

PresOdent writes "Carnegie Mellon University cut off network access to 71 students who allegedly put some copyrighted mp3s on their sites on the university's computer network. The university said it discovered the copyright violations last month, when it conducted surprise inspections of student computer files at the order of the Recording Industry Association of America. Read the article from the Chronicle of Higher Education for more info."

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The saga continues (1)

redhotchil (44670) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549481)

Looks like more and more people are getting busted... I know of many colleges really dont care what thier students do but is this an invasion of the students privacy/rights?

Hmm.. (1)

j a w a d (66763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549482)

Word on campus [rpi.edu] (RPI) is that some kids lost Network Access (temporarily) for posting copyrighted movies. Most everyone shares MP3s (many people have password-protected their folders now) but nothing has happened to them.

If another RPI student could verify this, it'd be appreciated. I know plenty of them cruise slashdot.

I hate the RIAA, but... (1)

sdelk (73884) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549483)

These kids got what they deserved. Distributing MP3s of copyrighted songs is illegal, after all.

I thought Carnegie Mellon students were smarter than this :)

Steve Jackson Games Anyone?? (1)

dclydew (14163) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549484)

If these were live sites... they were published works. If I'm not mistaken actions like this could easily be countered under the Personal Privacy and Electronic Communications Provacy Acts. Of course, IANAL...

It's their network... (3)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549485)

While they can't go in and confiscate the students' computers, they are within their rights to deny the students access to the network.

Who in their right mind shares illegal (I am assuming they were copyright infringing) mp3's without at least protecting them with a password???

Good (1)

David Jensen (1987) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549486)

MP3 is a great format for storing and propagating music, but if the music isn't theirs to give away, the students should not post it. The punishment seems appropriate under the circumstances.

By the way, the complaint that inspecting publicly available files in invasion of privacy registers a zero on the cluemeter.

Sounds worse than it is (1)

rebrane (17961) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549487)

As far as I can tell from reading the article, these 'surprise inspections' just meant a quick check of the users' public html directories; the abstract definitely gives a feel of a knock on the dorm room door or the like. Nonetheless, I guess the day of the 'stern warning' is over. /me makes a note to be more paranoid in the future.

--neil

And? (1)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549488)

Why is this news, surely there's no invasion of privacy issues, if they're facing legal action for illegal files on their computers aren't they within their rights to punish the offenders?

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Chameleon (5810) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549489)

Not anymore, they don't. Their network access got taken away, remember? :-)
--
Chris Dunham
http://www.tetrion.com/~chameleo/index.html

Good and Bad (1)

schporto (20516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549490)

I agree the students should be punished. It is against the usage guidlines set in CMU's computer policy. Acordingly they should lose the privlige (not right) to use those computers.
But I think it could've been done better. Like an email to all students "we will be seraching the disks for any mp3's soon. This will be considered a violation blah blah." Then do it. Again and again. Not just to suddenly do it.
I also have a problem with the RIAA saying they will sue CMU. Again the idea that CMU must police its student's pages is not something I like. I would agree that the RIAA has the right to sue those students though.
And yes I know this will probably be an unpopular opinion in many regards.
-cpd

Re:Sounds worse than it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549491)

No, the article is either misleading or you didn't read it very closely. They actually went out and actively searched for shared mp3s on the windows network, even trying misc passwords on password protected directories.

Re:It's their network... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549492)

Some of them were even protected by a password.

Par for the course (2)

sumner (99758) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549493)

CMU has historically been very skittish about copyright violations. When I was in school there, they dropped a number of Usenet groups because they alleged that the majority of the posts to them contained illegally copied material. They've also been more than willing to pull the accounts of students whose machines are used to attack other machines. None of that should really be surprising, though; it is, in point of fact, illegal to copy mp3s of copyrighted material and since CMU long ago abandoned any pretense of being a common carrier they would be opening themselves up for legal troubles if they didn't cut of access to copyrighted material once it were found. The only troubling thing here--and it is quite troubling--is that they conducted inspections "at the order of" the RIAA. That could mean either that the RIAA said "we've seen evidence that machines X, Y, and Z have illegal mp3s on them" and CMU looked and verified that, or it could mean the RIAA siad "lots of CMU students have mp3s, why don't you look and see which ones". The first is IMO acceptable and in accordance with how law enforcement would act to comply with search and seizure restrictions. It's probably required to comply with the law, though IANAL. The second is rather heavy-handed, especially for an institute of higher learning. I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

Wonder if other colleges will do the same (1)

lost_it (44553) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549494)

I'm a student at VirginiaTech, and there are some idiots on the local network who leave their mp3 folders open to the public. I wouldn't feel sorry for them at all if they were caught.

Just because the rule wasn't enforced before doesn't mean that they have to make an announcement before they decide to enforce it.

Nothing new at college. (2)

ColonelNorth (71286) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549495)

This isn't something new, really.
At the University of Maryland, College Park, they have been cracking down (or trying to) on the distribution of MP3s and pirated software for years. Unfortunatly, their detection has been rather limited, since all they really look for are student machines using significant bandwidth, which, in of itself, isn't proof of wrong doing.
What you'll find on these college campuses, however, is a staff of people who enforce these "Acceptable Use Policies," and these staffs are usually made up of beaurocrats, and not techies. You are usually tried, convicted, and sentenced on even the most circumstancial of evidence. Hell, I know someone who got kicked out of Resident housing over LEGAL MP3s.
And when the more serious network intrusions take place, they do it based on your IP address. It doesn't matter if your machine is owned, your IP hijacked, or the address simply spoofed.
Basicly, there's a new kind of fascist in town. While they may not be smart enough to catch you, they may accuse you anyway and run you through. Be careful.

invasion of privacy (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549496)

Could this be an invasion of privacty issue? I did not read the article so I do not know weather these were students personal computers or weather these were university computers. If they were university computers then I could see this as a selfprotection issue.

However this is a good example of what is going to happen in the future of computing and the future of privacy.

More and more there is a push for server side computing. Server side data storage, and server side everything. They keep all your information in various databases, yes even the portols do this. So when all your emila and all your files are kept on a remote server somehwere, who is there to stop them from telling you what you can store and what you cannot store? Maybe I have seen to many episodes of 'the net' but there may soon be a day when your whole life and all your info is on the web, and sys admins will always be able to access this information.

send flames > /dev/null

Re:I hate the RIAA, but... (1)

Chameleon (5810) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549497)

Yes, if you're going to distribute MP3s, do it among friends, don't post them publicly.
However, if the sites that were taken down were anything more than "My First Home Page(tm)" the students can contest it very easily. Asking someone to remove potentially illegal material from one's site is one thing, but denying them access altogether is another. I'd like to see what it says in their "Terms of Service" file...
--
Chris Dunham
http://www.tetrion.com/~chameleo/index.html

Re:Hmm.. (1)

ColonelNorth (71286) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549498)

Probably Leichner again. Tell him I say high.

Good for CMU (1)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549499)

I don't see the problem. When I was at university they would search our home directories for stuff like password cracking tools and portscanners and so on. Big deal. It's their network, and their hardware, and their software.

I've got no time for college kids running warez sites (albeit music warez not software warez).

What's really strange is that if they go to some lame copyright seminar they get a lenient punishment. This smacks of the kind of enforced education (I use the word loosely) increasingly popular in the US as a way of treating young people of apparent delinquent behaviour. Very odd. At UCL we lost our accounts, full stop, for serious breaches of the rules. If that meant you couldn't complete your CS course then you were in big trouble.

Oops, guess the RIAA is right this time! (1)

iElucidate (67873) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549500)

The article brings up, offhand, a bit about privacy concerns. However, since these files were publically available over the school Intranet, that doesn't really apply. Now, I am completely against anyone monitoring my net usage, but when you post illegal content on a school site, they have a right to take it down, and I think CMU acted well here - no harsh punishments, no overreactions, just logical punishment that is fair.

What worries me a lot more than CMU is the fact that the RIAA is forcing colleges to monitor content for compliance with their "rules." Since when can the RIAA enforce laws? Especially since the article doesn't say whether the songs were ripped by those posting them (legal, as long as no one who doesn't own it downloads it!), or which songs were available. Hmm....

Re:invasion of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549501)

The computers were student computers sharing things via SMB. Even people with password protected files were disconnected.

Re:Sounds worse than it is (3)

MaxVlast (103795) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549502)

Well...

I agree with you in principle. I am a CMU student who didn't lose network access. And I support the actions of Computing Services. If RIAA had to do it, the school's ass would be on the line.

What raised the ire of many of the students (and prompted the action of the Student Senate, and other groups [such as the Student Dormitory Council]) was the violation of Computing Services's own guidelines. By guessing passwords (even if they were easy ones), they were not observing their own privacy statements.

In addition, students with legal MP3s were shut off. Also, students did not receive advance notice, nor did they receive adequate explanations of the actions taken.

--
Max V.

I know what you mean (1)

Hermelin (15608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549503)

People do that here at Michigan Tech too.

I think I'm going to turn someone though.

They have on their dorm door, "movies for sale or trade." So I think that they deserve to be smacked. Advertising that you have illegal copies of SouthPark, Star Wars, and others. Freshman are just too damn stupid.

Re:The saga continues (1)

_xen (79742) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549504)

Quite apart from the privacy problems how about approaching to the students first? Or doesn't audi alteram partem apply to US colleges? One would think a stern "don't do it again" would suffice.

Illegal search and seizure? (2)

Uruk (4907) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549505)

Now their network access is obviously the school's, and subject to their terms. Admins can watch what goes into and out of a box, but is it really legal to "search" their computer? That sounds like definate search and seizure, which I thought couldn't be done without a warrant, definately not done just because a record company wanted you to.

Re:Wonder if other colleges will do the same (1)

ColonelNorth (71286) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549506)

You really won't get busted for what you leave open with Microsoft Networking. Usually, these people don't want to leave their desks, and aren't technically proficient. They watch for IP based traffic that actually passes to/from your Resident Hall's subnet. Now, if you piss off enough people that a dozen or so complain, well then, they may look into it. :) Otherwise, nada.

Take your 90 minute class and get some free webspa (1)

asa (33102) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549507)

First, tehschool should not punish students on behalf of another entity. The offended groups should sue the students if they think they can win. My advise for these students: take the 90 minute class and get some free webspace from Yahoo, Netcenter or GeoCities or whoever and post your mp3s there.

Re:The saga continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549508)

Well, the files were put in public folders/directories according to the article, so I would say no it's not an invasion of their privacy. Had they been in password protected or otherwise private locations (e.g., for use on only the person's own machine), then possibly so. To a large extent it depends on the Uni's computer network usage policy (in this case CMU's policy [cmu.edu] ) that the students (presumably) agreed to follow.

Re:It's their network... (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549509)

Does anyone know of any cases where MP3's protected with username=mp3, password=mp3 were officially not considered private?

Good Lord... (0)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549510)

has my alma mater changed! I was there from '90-94 (in the Physics Dept.), and pirated software was *freely* availible not only on the appletalk networks, but also on the unix boxes. (I never used the pc's so I don't know about them). It was not only well known but joked about amongst the CCONs and UCONs (sysadmin/tech support folks).

Now they are suspending rights to 'net some kids because of mp3s? At a school like that I think that is very unusually harsh. In the pre-Mosiac days, it was very common for profs. to _require_ you to run or read maiterial that was posted either on the intra- or inter-net. This seems highly cruel to me, since it makes it very likely the kids'll fail out.

Note: I did _not_ download or use any of this software. For most of my stay there, I had no computer of my own, but for my freshman year I had an Amiga (which was unsupported). My views of pirated software and software pirates are my own, and I do not choose to share them in a public forum.

Good Lord... (1)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549511)

has my alma mater changed! I was there from '90-94 (in the Physics Dept.), and pirated software was *freely* availible not only on the appletalk networks, but also on the unix boxes. (I never used the pc's so I don't know about them). It was not only well known but joked about amongst the CCONs and UCONs (sysadmin/tech support folks).

Now they are suspending rights to 'net some kids because of mp3s? At a school like that I think that is very unusually harsh. In the pre-Mosiac days, it was very common for profs. to _require_ you to run or read maiterial that was posted either on the intra- or inter-net. This seems highly cruel to me, since it makes it very likely the kids'll fail out.

Note: I did _not_ download or use any of this software. For most of my stay there, I had no computer of my own, but for my freshman year I had an Amiga (which was unsupported). My views of pirated software and software pirates are my own, and I do not choose to share them in a public forum.

Equally High Standards Across the Board? (1)

starlingX (67942) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549512)


While I don't support the silly actions of WaReZ D00Dz, you've really got to wonder if the University applies the same high standards to on-campus software licensing, the distribution of photocopied materials in class, and the use of trademarked names and logos in its publications.

CMU still after the dreaded internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549513)

This is the CMU of Marty Rimm fame, right?

"At the order of the RIAA"? (2)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549514)

While I am annoyed with those who insist on using mp3 as a method of propogating warez music and giving the rest of us a bad name, who simply want open standards and convinient fair use of the music we have purchased, I must say I find the notion of universities becoming a collective police force for the RIAA more than a little disturbing. When I was in college we all shared cassette tape recordings of music we couldn't afford to buy. This story calls to mind images of University employees and RAs entering dorm rooms, spot checking tape collections for illegal tapes.

While what we did as students was not strictly legal, it was pretty damn harmless. I suspect the RIAA has made a great deal of money on each and every student who did this in college, as nearly all of us have no doubt moved on to buying CD's (and some of us going the extra step and ripping them into mp3 format for convinient access on our hard drives).

I don't approve of what the students did, especially if the files in question were in areas with public access, which being on a web page implies. If they were running warez sites for the world to steal from, then shame on them. But if they were simply exchanging files among themselves, for their own use, then shame on the university and the RIAA for swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.

I once considered making my mp3 collection available *to myself only*, via 128-bit encryption and password authentication, on my web page so I could listen to my music anywhere in the world, without lugging cdroms around. I opted out, as explaining that subtle but critical difference -- the difference between fair use and piracy -- is not something I wanted to do before a judge, especially with the extreme presumption of guilt when the phrase "made his mp3 collection available on a web page" is uttered. While these students probably weren't doing this, can anyone be certain based on the article as written?

No matter how one slices this story, one thing is clear. Even the limited privacy we enjoyed as students even a few short years ago appears to have been vastly more sacrosanct than whatever it is students have now (calling it privacy would be a farce of the worst kind, I'm afraid).

Shame on everyone. This is despicable.

RIAA: Tunes Gestapo? (1)

Komodo (7029) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549515)

Violations of civil rights and strange standards of evidence are nothing new at universities. A lot of them have the attitude that the student is there for an education, and the 'free' computing facilities are there for educational purposes, not downloading pr0n or warez or whatever.

What disturbs me is that the RIAA can strongarm (or even weakarm) any institution into 'busting' people - and that the university would be proud of this?? The RIAA is NOT a law enforcement agency. They do NOT entitled to enforce the law or 'order' inspections of anything. If the RIAA shows up at my doorstep, I'll sue them for trespassing. I answer to the Law - that means cops following due process - not a bunch of industry extortionists.

Maybe if the RIAA gave money back to the artists instead of keeping it for the music monopolies, I might be less inclined to use the flamethrower here. But they aren't, and this is just plain wrong.

Re:It's their network... (1)

_xen (79742) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549516)

they are within their rights to deny the students access to the network.

I'll presume this is an informed legal opinion based on a incontestible construction of the relevant contract(s), ... however, what about the natural justice issues? Or does US law lack the concept of `procedural fairness'. (This is an genuine question, btw, I'd actually like to know)

hrm... (3)

Haven (34895) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549517)

The university said it discovered the copyright violations last month, when it conducted surprise inspections of student computer files at the behest of the Recording Industry Association of America.

If I was the head of a univeristy I wouldn't listen to the RIAA, even if they threatened to sue, because they could only bring legal action upon the students. It would be like if I hacked slashdot and put up an mp3 ftp site. The RIAA couldn't prosecute Rob or Hemos. They would find an prosecute me. People are so afraid of the RIAA. If I were in their shoes I would only listen to law enforcement officials.

Re:Illegal search and seizure? (2)

mochaone (59034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549518)

They didn't search the student's home computers. They searched the public storage area that was allocated from the university's network. They can do whatever they want with their property.

All of a sudden... (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549519)

"The fact that the university had not actively enforced these policies up to this point caught a lot of students off guard."

There are a LOT of students sharing MP3's at my university, but the university hasn't done anything about it unless the RIIA tells them about a specific student.

The message I've gotten was that they didn't care if we traded MP3's amongst ourselves as long as we weren't part of a big pirating ring. If my school suddenly changed its stance, I'd be surprised (pissed) too.

This isnt the first time (1)

schnurble (16727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549520)

My University (Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA) did this in Spring of 1998. 5 students on my floor had network access terminated for the entire term due to MP3 sharing (they were, admittedly, stupid about it, non-passworded shares labelled "mp3"). Given that spring term is when we apply for coop jobs, and we had to grab the coop job lists off the network servers, they were hurting a fair bit.

I heard a report from somewhere that last year over 500 students at Drexel fell to the same fate (all frosh tho). Yet, nowhere in the networking policies do they specify MP3's, and an amazing number of people in this country don't even think twice before grabbing an MP3 or 50 for late night coding music. Noone really bothers to think that, yes, mp3's ARE copyright infringement if you don't own the CD. They just click and drag, click and drag...

Yes, I have MP3's. Used to have a secure 8GB archive on a server I administered. But anything I listened to on a regular basis, I bought the CD for. That's what I do now. I just bought 7 CDs to cover 17 MP3's that I listen to daily. If the music is good, I have no problems purchasing the CD and supporting the artist. Unfortunately, the local radio stations like to censor music, and they play the same 20 songs all damned day.

But I digress. This isn't the first time students have been raided, and I'm damned sure it won't be the last time.

Re:Sounds worse than it is (1)

rebrane (17961) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549521)

Carnegie Mellon randomly checked the public portions of 250 students' computer accounts...71 students had posted MP3's with copyright-protected songs on Web sites...

Sure sounds like web pages to me. Not that these articles are typically well-informed.

--neil

ISP courtordered for illegal MP3 (1)

xs4all (26083) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549522)

Here in Belgium, major ISP Skynet was courtordered to have all links to illegal MP3 downloadsites removed.

Judge ruled that the ISP was liable/responsable for the content on its users sites/homepages.

If they didn't they got a fine of approx 300$/link.

Network Access Revocation (2)

Weezul (52464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549523)

Standford revoked many people's access for running Linux last year.. but people easily go arround it by running port scan detectors. I think serious people will just move to that sort of system now, i.e. deny access to all on camopus computer execpt ones that lie in blocks wired to dorm rooms. This creas an interesting idea: I wonder how easy it would be to keep an updated list of RIAA and co. IP blocks? I know they can always get a short term dialup account, but that can not be as efficent as looking for people from their own systems. Any ideas?

It will take a little more work to make Piracy really safe for the windows users, but most of the time the people looking for piracy don't check out SMB shares anyway.

Speaking of making piracy safe, here is an interesting idea: use a daemon (using a random port selected at install time and automatic portscan detector) to create a network were each person's computer shares it's list of MP3s but only talked to their friends systems for everyday sorts of contact (well execpt for actually transmitting the MP3s). Sorta like an old BBS style network.. execpt with no global network map. This could go a long way to making it impossible to effectivly bust pirates. I mean they could always go after the one guy who was pirating a specifi thin (like a movie) but it would be uneconomical to just go take out the popular since every site would be equally popular and tere would be no way (short of DLing all the MP3s on the network) to KNOW that you had them all. just a though..

Jeff

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549524)

one wonders if by indulging in this kind of policing they are not setting themselves up for greater liability in the future.

Carnegie Mellon will never get away with this! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549525)

Maybe I'm naturally oversensitive, or maybe someone just slipped me decaf coffee this morning, but we all have an obligation to stand up together and forcefully oppose Carnegie Mellon University's uneducated reinterpretations of copyright law. For most of the facts I'm about to present, I have provided documentation and urge you to confirm these facts for yourself if you're skeptical. How can we expect to help you reflect and reexamine your views on Carnegie Mellon University if we walk right into Carnegie Mellon University's trap? A necessary first step towards recovery is to look at Carnegie Mellon University with new eyes, unclouded by a lifetime of false information and deception propagated by the most choleric perverts you'll ever see. According to Carnegie Mellon University, anyone who points this out is guilty of spreading lies, smears, and racism -- an instructive warning for the future.

I once had a nightmare in which Carnegie Mellon University was free to usher in the beginning of a disrespectful new era of parasitism. There is absolutely nothing these foul-mouthed diabolic-types will not do to destroy their enemies. They will poke into the most secret family affairs and not rest until their truffle-searching instinct digs up some deplorable incident that is calculated to finish off their unfortunate victim. It is easy to see from the foregoing that I take seriously the view that just because you can do something does not mean it's okay to do it. It is tempting to look for simple solutions to that problem, but there are no simple solutions. I don't know when obscurantism became chic, but we can never return to the past. And if we are ever to move forward to the future, we have to indicate in a rough and approximate way the two snooty tendencies that I believe are the main driving force of modern Marxism.

I respect Carnegie Mellon University's criticisms, although it got into a snit the last time I pointed out that the truth of this is by no means limited to the field of general culture, but applies to politics as well. If there is one thing I have learned, it is this: you don't need to look far to see that Carnegie Mellon University continuously seeks adulation from its cronies. Apparently, some of Carnegie Mellon University's wishy-washy tirades are so self-contradictory, they're their own refutation. If a new Dark Age is about to descend upon us -- as many believe it will -- it will be the result of Carnegie Mellon University's writings.

After all, if we submit to Carnegie Mellon University's definition of "hexosemonophosphoric" and become unscrupulous, we have lost the war for self-preservation. Unsettling as that is, the more infuriating fact is that if Carnegie Mellon University is allowed to burn books, the implications can be widespread. I have just one word for Carnegie Mellon University: transubstantiatively. If saturnine ignoramuses can one day replace the search for truth with a situationist relativism based on acrimonious alcoholism, then the long descent into night is sure to follow. By now, we are all more than familiar with Carnegie Mellon University's unpleasant deeds. Let me explain. Outrage pounded in my temples when I first realized that Carnegie Mellon University wants to hijack the word "ultraphotomicrograph" and use it to destroy the values, methods, and goals of traditional humanistic study.

Carnegie Mellon University's stratagems have grown into an intemperate tapestry weaving together classical conspiracy theories of the 19th century and post-Marxian economics. It's my hunch that Carnegie Mellon University uses the term "theoanthropomorphism" with ostensible confidence that its meaning is universally understood. Notice the raucous tendency of Carnegie Mellon University's bons mots. This is kind of a touchy subject to some people. Speaking of abominable imbeciles, no one of any intelligence believes that anyone who resists Carnegie Mellon University deserves to be crushed. Human life is full of artificiality, perversion, and misery, much of which is caused by the worst types of immoral riffraff I've ever seen. And that's the honest truth.

They broke the law... (1)

Rob the Roadie (2950) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549526)

These students broke the law and they got off lightly. The punishments handed out hardly seem harsh when compared to the powers of the RIAA. The students were given access to a privately owned network and instructed on the Acceptable Usage Policy and then they abused the privilage.

"There was a good bit of uproar," Mr. Fowler acknowledged. "The fact that the university had not actively enforced these policies up to this point caught a lot of students off guard."
And this is supposed to make it alright?

I am upset about one comment from the article [chronicle.com] as it implies that the RIAA will force the responsibility upon the colleges. All it will take is for one school to be sued and access to computers will either be revoked across the board or replaced by locked down, MS Windows workstations managed by SMS refreshing the builds every night to ensure that no one can do anything anymore.

Power is nothing without control --or-- Who polices the police?

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549527)

So when did student's computers become university owned?

Re:Illegal search and seizure? (1)

lost_it (44553) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549528)

If these mp3's were posted in a public SMB folder, for everyone on the network to see, then it really shouldn't count as an illegal search. It's like selling illegal movie copies on your front lawn...if a police officer drives by and sees you, he doesn't need (and shouldn't need) a search warrant to charge you.

At The Order Of? (1)

Peale (9155) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549529)

Can the RIAA do that? I mean, they're a private agency, and not a government institution, right? Even the government needs a subpoena. Or was the college just being 'nice' to the RIAA?

I'm sorry. What I meant to say was 'please excuse me.'
what came out of my mouth was 'Move or I'll kill you!'

Re:It's their network... (1)

Rupes (61616) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549530)

Actually, many of the shares *were* passworded.

The reason many of the students are upset about
this is not because they were caught with mp3s
(well, except the people who were disconnected for
LEGAL mp3s), but because Computing Services here
has a policy that anything not SPECIFICALLY marked
public is private. Someone got in trouble a while
ago for providing a search engine, because he
hadn't explicitly gotten everyone's permission to
look in their unpassworded directories... to have
Computing Services blatantly break their own
privacy policy by not only doing this, but
actually trying passwords, is the problem.

Re:I hate the RIAA, but... (1)

Bitscape (7378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549531)

Every time I see a story like this, it makes me less inclined to go and buy cds from mainstream sources. I love music, but to see the profits going to fund police state measures... It's just sickening.

Re:Illegal search and seizure? (1)

DJK (106039) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549532)

Well, I believe the article states that the "illegal" files were in students' public directories. Therefore, school officials didn't have to "search"; the files were there for anyone to inspect and grab. Officials just happened to "stumble" on them at the request of RIAA.

Invasion of privacy? nah. (2)

mosch (204) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549533)

The article seems to state that all of these searches were done by checking the contents of ~/public_html files on University owned servers. While it may have been a bit surprising for the University, given the choice between slapping 71 students on the wrist or potentially having a very expensive lawsuit from the RIAA, well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which is the better idea.

If you're a CMU student and want to rebel against it, just fill up your public_html with mp3's generated with dd if=/dev/zero of=bjork-its_too_quiet.mp3 or dd if=/dev/random of=foo_fighters-random_mumblings.mp3. Civil disobedience is mighty effective.

Remember though guys, music is copyrighted and if you're listening to something then you like it enough to buy it. Most of the professional musicians I know are scared of mp3 due to the massive piracy which currently occurs in that medium. I'm not an mp3 fan, but I'd like to see the format legitimized. Let's hope this kind of thing doesn't give the record industry excuses to charge me even more per disc.

Re:It's their network... (1)

wik (10258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549534)

The big issue here was that many of the shares were protected by passwords, many of them non-trivial. Granted, a large number of machine administrators placed readme.txt files in their shares which either (a) gave away the password or (b) gave a BIG hint as to the password. I found this to be rather upsetting. (I am a CMU student who wasn't disconnected). In many cases, the shares were password-protected, but the machines were still disconnected. It seems as if the mere presence of a share named "music" or "mp3" was enough to set off Computing Services.

I respect Computing Service's position, (particularly with the big hairy 800lb RIAA crawling on their back), but I would have at least expected them to issue warnings to students who were infringing, rather than disconnecting them. If they failed to correct themselves after a warning, CS has every right to disconnect them. Student Senate passed a resolution requiring CS to do so in future "raids".

I don't buy the excuse that "we are paying tuition, therefore we should get X", where X is 100% never-disconnected network access in the dorms. If people don't stay legal, it's only fair to expect to be removed. This type of thing has been done before, mostly for computers generating too much traffic on the residential networks.

Re:It's their network... (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549535)

Well IANAL, but I went through something similar when I was in school. It really depends on what agreement they signed when they recieved network access--that thing most college kids will just say "yea yea" and sign. I would think that most schools have a pretty standard cookie-cutter agreement that says they own the network and the students can't use it for x, y, and z purposes.

Re:hrm... (3)

larien (5608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549536)

This is a grey area, with the university possibly being responsible for the content within the pages, even if they didn't write them.

FWIW, I'm an admin at a university, and I'd do exactly the same if one of our students posted MP3's on the web.
--

What's funny is... (4)

isaac (2852) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549537)

They were LESS liable for the behaviour of their students BEFORE they started snooping. Now that they've set a precedent of editorial control over content on their network, they will have to keep monitoring for and removing copyright violations (or potential violations, or libel, or obscenity, or any other forbidden-speech-du-jour) from now on.

Which is exactly what the RIAA wants, methinks.

Re:Network Access Revocation (1)

retep (108840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549538)

Why did they revoke access for running Linux? Sounds really dumb to me.

Re:Illegal search and seizure? (1)

Rupes (61616) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549539)

>They didn't search the student's home computers.
>They searched the public storage area that was allocated from the university's network.
>They can do whatever they want with their property.

Ummm, no. This was done to the student's personal
computers, in their dorm rooms - our accounts on
the school computers weren't touched. It had
NOTHING to do with the public storage area allocated
from the university's network.

Re:"At the order of the RIAA"? (1)

mochaone (59034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549540)

I must say I find the notion of universities becoming a collective police force for the RIAA more than a little disturbing.

Would you consider the university a collective police force for the automobile industry if someone from the local Honda dealership noticed that one of the cars that was stolen off its lot was parked outside a dorm? You don't like the physical property analogy to intellectual property? What if the kids had copies of, let's say a pc game, that my wife designed? While you may not think it's a big deal to have fun amongst the boys and put the game on the server for your friends to use, you would be taking food out of my mouth.

CM is doing nothing more than protecting its interest by respecting the law.

While what we did as students was not strictly legal, it was pretty damn harmless

You know, I wish I had the luxury of determining which laws I thought were breakable because what I was doing wasn't realing "harming" anyone.

Crypto FS anyone? (2)

Adnans (2862) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549541)

Yep, just flip the big red switch (make sure you've installed ext3 patches for convenience) and wish the RIAA good luck with examining your /pub/mp3 partition :)

Disclaimer: this is in no way an endorsement for illegally distributing copyrighted material!
(talk about covering MY ass)

Re:Steve Jackson Games Anyone?? (1)

mischief (6270) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549542)

I don't think so - the article says the files were available to "11,000 members of the university's computer network", which makes them publicly available. Also, CMU had policies specifically against this, they just hadn't enforced them up to that point.

--

Eejuts! (2)

mattbee (17533) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549543)

I think college students (me included, at one point) tend to forget that the super-fast network access is a priviledge of being at college and not a friggin' right! If most universities have a `privacy policy', I don't think they're going to have any qualms about looking at files stored on their own hard drives to check there's nothing illegal there. Even looking at `public' files on students own boxes wouldn't surprise me; it's their network after all.

I'm lucky and can have my Linux box on-line 24/7 from the comfort of my bedroom; nobody demanded my root password as a condition of providing this service so I think I'm fairly lucky. But I do know damned well the Computer Services people run probes on the contents of anonymous FTP servers and regularly look for other network `weaknesses' on students' boxes.

So I hardly think this is an invasion of anybody's privacy, only a few stupid students who didn't hide their illegal activities a bit better; playing the invasion-of-privacy card just doesn't work here. In fact they've only been cut off for the rest of the semester; pretty lenient all in all.

What a bunch of morons... (1)

Pulsar (4287) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549544)

Now, I hate the RIAA as much as anyone out there (more than most, actually)...but can you blame a university for kicking people off their network for posting mp3s onto the University webserver? If you read the article, these people were ripping CD's and copying them to their html account on the University server. If anything, they had to have been violating their HD space quotas...

Yes, we should fight against RIAA, but let's not bring everyone around us down with us. ;)

Oh, and I thought it kinda funny they said the guys could either take a 90 minute class on copyright law and get net access back in 4 weeks or have to go without for the rest of the semester...this story must be old, because for most schools there's only about 4 weeks left in the semester!



Re:The saga continues (1)

mochaone (59034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549545)

CM's policy, while not regularly enforced, stated that copyrighted materials were not to be placed on the share drives.

The students were'nt kicked out of school. They just have to drag their butts to the lab now. All in all, a light punishment.

Article doesn't quite give the whole story (1)

Martin Hock (12153) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549546)

One thing the article leaves out is that not only were publically accessible directories searched, but some semi-private ones as well. If the searcher was able to either easily guess the password (something along the lines of "mp3") or was able to learn the password by sending an e-mail message to the archive's maintainer, and copyrighted material was found, network access was revoked.

Some relevant articles:
Computing Services reprimands students [cmu.edu]
Officials crack down on piracy [cmu.edu]
and an editorial:
CMU: consider approach toward network integrity [cmu.edu]
(These are all from The Tartan [cmu.edu] , CMU's student newspaper.)

Re:I hate the RIAA, but... (1)

scotpurl (28825) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549547)

True, but I think the RIAA is guilty of crimes as well (which means I mildly advocate MP3 distribution). I've got probably 40 CD's here, bought at $12-18 per, and there's only one good song on any of them. Ya hear a good song on the radio, think, "Gee, I like the song, I think I'll buy the album." Then you discover that the entire album isn't even backwater bar band quality; the artist had one good song, and the company put out a padded CD.

That's the real crime.

Leastways, if I weren't already cynical and hadn't abandoned buying CDs altogether (jaded consumer syndrome), I'd probably listen to the MP3s. I have borrowed CD's full of MP3 from pals, and listened to them, and thought, "This sucks! Glad I didn't buy the album."

Fight RIAA in the Long Run !! (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549548)

It is in RIAA's (a.k.a. the few dominant record companies) interest to fight the mp3 format itself - in order to protect their monopoly on their self-proclaimed "value-added" distribution channel. Piracy is only their second reason.

Illegal mp3's are their excuse to threat and raid.

Put more LEGAL mp3's on the net.

Distribute as much of your music in mp3 as possible, and tell your musician friends to - even a 1-minute performance, vocal or purely-instrumental, or even speech. The point is to use mp3 as your DEFAULT sound format.

Put more effort on promoting mp3 as a legitimate, open channel of music distribution so that SDMI won't stand a chance.

On second thought, any window managers playing mp3's as their alert events? Or is there any effort to make a /dev/mp3 ?

My Alma Matter, the future of us all (1)

Benjamin Shniper (24107) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549549)

I know this sounds maybe too unreal to be believed, but I liked the free access to information environment at CMU. We had no money, and yet we all had pirated versions of quake, warcraft, starcraft, and plenty of MP3s and movie files. South Park episodes were on almost everyones' shared directory. I miss the freedom of going to any share directory in the CMU network and grabbing dozens of MP3 files I wanted very quickly, very easily, and very freely. What am I saying? That's illegal, immoral, and wrong! Right? I remember hoping that this was the future of computing - where everyone could claim access to anything and any entertainment they wanted. Now it's clear CMU doesn't want this to be the future. Why do so many here support *Free* software and yet cling so hard to copyright? Information should be free people, that's what we fought Microsoft for! We're the hippies, we're the rebels, we're the people who hate the restrictiveness of society, right? Sadly, Benjamin Shniper

That is unrealistic. (2)

FallLine (12211) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549550)

The state of our legal system is not such that they can afford to risk it. They DO face liability for allowing mp3 sites to run which they're made aware of. Furthermore, trading of copyrighted mp3s like that is still technically illegal, and the college does have a certain obligation to minimize it, especially when they can do so with so little effort.

Re:Illegal search and seizure? (1)

dangermouse (2242) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549551)

Ummm, no. This was done to the student's personal computers, in their dorm rooms - our accounts on the school computers weren't touched. It had NOTHING to do with the public storage area allocated from the university's network.

The question is, were the mp3s being shared on the campus network? If so, that constitutes illegal usage of university resources. At least, it does here at Georgia Tech, and I see no reason that shouldn't apply at your school.

Re:The saga continues (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549552)

I think my college says they have the right to look thru your files on thier networks. Acordng to them (and correctly so) it is after all, thier network and their computers and their file server. Its kinda like having a computer and username for your job. Although i've never heard of my college going into anyone's account unless they had reason to.

Bend over like a sheep and squeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549553)

There's a group of people who insist that rights be taken away to a large class so they may make a comfortable living.

Back when I was in school, it didn't matter that I was paying $10,000 a year, some people thought tax money was paying our tuitions and we were sheep that had no rights. We were to make their investments profitable. Listen to their advertising, buy their books, and work for their cretin companies when they were hiring.

I became aware of this mentality when the internet went public around 1995 and spammers stated they had a right to send me crap as I did not pay for the internet, but from taxes. Dumb logic, dumb capitalists.

Illegal search and seizure? Not. (1)

akey (29718) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549554)

Now their network access is obviously the school's, and subject to their terms. Admins can watch what goes into and out of a box, but is it really legal to "search" their computer?"

Where from that article did you get that the students' computers were being searched? The article clearly states that CMU "randomly checked the public portions of 250 students' computer accounts". In no case, however, were system admins "illegally" searching through private computers.

Re:Carnegie Mellon will never get away with this! (1)

wik (10258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549555)

Does anyone else find this diatribe of multi-syllabic lexical items amusing?

I don't know... attempts to indict CMU with conspiracy theories seem to simply be the expressions of a frustrated student. Take all of these conspiracies with a grain of salt. CMU's administrators really aren't capable of conspiring, anyway.

Time for sometruely "independent" music (1)

gotan (60103) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549556)

We probably all agree, that the university acted correctly on a perfectly legal request of the RIAA. On the other hand most consumers are not happy to be ripped off by the music industry which in the meantime defines what is 'good' and what is 'bad' music, serving more and more mainstream garbage barely worth listening more than once.

Obviously the internet in combination with mp3 can be used to distribute music free of charge (most expenses can be covered by advertising) very fast, there are probably also a lot of small bands which would never be considered for promotion by the major labels but make very fine music nevertheless. (Just recently i stumbled over an excellent demo tape, and was very sad to hear that this will never be pressed to CD.) So why not combine these two, creating a network of mirrorsites distributing really independant and free music across the internet.

I think there would be a lot of bands grabbing the opportunity to have their music published this way, either out of idealism, or maybe just to become known. If the distributing sites could cover their costs with advertising the whole thing might work very well.

To avoid legal catfights some sort of 'GPL for music' (e.g. freely distributable as long as the artists are credited) would be a good thing. The distributing sites should also cover reviews, so you know what you get before downloading 20 MB of mp3.

I wouldn't wonder if such a thing already existed, anybody care to provide some pointers?

Re:Article doesn't quite give the whole story (1)

dangermouse (2242) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549557)

One thing the article leaves out is that not only were publically accessible directories searched, but some semi-private ones as well. If the searcher was able to either easily guess the password (something along the lines of "mp3") or was able to learn the password by sending an e-mail message to the archive's maintainer, and copyrighted material was found, network access was revoked.

So what? That hardly constitutes invasion of privacy or entrapment. If a cop walks up to a suspected drug dealer and asks him for some dope, and the guy offers to sell him some, that's a legal bust.

These CMU kids don't have a leg to stand on. They were stupid and the school decided to play it safe and enforce its policies rather than revoke them (which would have been truly stupid). Get over it. You've got nothing.

Re:Invasion of privacy? nah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549558)

Uh, the article was incorrect. They searched student computers.

Re:It's their network... (1)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549559)

By that logic, they also had the right to do nothing at all. First, it's THEIR network, one can consequently ask the question "what was the RIAA doing looking through a private network in the first place?" Secondly, since it's a private network, there MAY not even be a copyright infringement--copyrights cover public transmission of copyrighted works, not use within private property.

Re:hrm... (2)

LennierBOFH (110505) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549560)

I'm no lawyer, but I don't know how true this is. As a network admin, I am responsible for everything that is on my network. If someone has access to something they shouldn't, it's my fault. If someone is misusing my network, it's my job to track it down, and put a stop to it. Look at it like this: If you hacked slashdot, and put mp3's up, yes, you would be liable. BUT, if Rob and Hemos found your MP3's and kept them up, they would be responsible as well. Aiding and abeding...

Re:hrm... (1)

Kelt (85402) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549561)

From the threads I have gathered here, it looks like the files in question were held on private PC's (those of the students) and protected by (albeit easy) passwords. Guessing even an easy password is cracking. Last time I checked, connecting to someone's network did not give away your right to not be cracked. And cracking into someone's computer is still illegal.

Methinks those students that DID have passwords, non-public accounts, etc., should contact a lawyer and file a suit.

-Steve

Re:Network Access Revocation (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549562)

Over here at Univ. of Michigan, the engineering computer support team has justed released it's first version of "Blue Hat", a Red Hat derived Linux distrubtion with additionaly functionality for some of the networking features here on this campus (AFS, Kerberos, etc).

Re:All of a sudden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549563)

I go to a small university in Canada. I happen to be friends with most of the junior sysadmins and know some of the senior sysadmins by name.
We've all got our own mp3 collections (I got a nice soundtrack from one of them) and used to share/swap frequently. I stopped publicly sharing my mp3 folder when I found multiple copies of it shared elsewhere on the network.
Now just about everybody's got theirs password protected, but passwords are usually given out to anybody who asks.
Most of the senior students keep their mp3's on their own computer and share them over the network. Most of us are smart enough not to put the school into a difficult position by placing them on the school's servers. There are others, such as freshmen, who don't know better/don't care and overload the servers with mp3s. There has been no crackdown yet, but if the main server keeps running out of hard drive space, there may be one coming..

-posted anonymously because people referenced above read slashdot.

CMU Article on Crackdown (2)

akey (29718) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549564)

Here's a link with more specific information on the crackdown, directly from the CMU computing services newsletter.

http://www.cmu. edu/computing/cursor/fall99cursor.html#anchornetwo rk [cmu.edu]

It seems that shared directories on the local university LAN were searched.

Were copyright laws broken? (2)

Logan (7529) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549565)

Did the school ever prove that the students were actually distributing music they didn't have permission to distribute? Or did they not bother? It's a scary thought to think that perhaps the RIAA simply told them that there were illegal activities going on and the school simply took their word for it. How many innocent students were punished?

I work for the networking department of my school, where I have a much faster computer than my own at home and a very fast link. So that's the computer I rip and encode my cds on so I can listen to music all day. Am I going to get fired because the filenames are publicly viewable?

I also often download mp3s -- the legal kind. Some of my favorite bands at least allow one or two mp3s to be freely distributed (often bootlegs). These files I'll even put in a publicly accessable directory. Will I get fired for that?

Sometimes I download my mp3s to my machine at home. This is over a modem line, so it's not always feasible, but I still sometimes do it. Is it illegal to distribute copyrighted material to oneself? I'm waiting for the day some power happy administrator with a sniffer is going to turn me in for breaking the backs of the poor exploited American musical artist through the horrible act of listening to and supporting their music.

So how many students at CMU were only distributing mp3s legitimately? How many of them simply only had their own mp3s, but weren't technologically competent enough to make them private? How far did the school go to locate these files, and in contrast how far did they go to prove that these files were indeed illegal? I'm afraid I didn't see any of these questions answered in the article. Are there any other sources of information?

logan
(eagerly awaiting RIAA to come to his school, though they probably have already)

Re:My Alma Matter, the future of us all (1)

psylence (87893) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549566)

Umm, ok, so you are saying that you EXPECTED computing to evolve into a piracy-ridden windows file sharing network? Dead GOD I hope not. "yet we all had pirated versions of quake, warcraft, starcraft, and plenty of MP3s and movie files" -- "Why do so many here support *Free* software and yet cling so hard to copyright? Information should be free people, that's what we fought Microsoft for!" I think that would be because that software IS copyrighted. Just because the GPL and Copyleft's EXIST doesn't make it ok to steal things that don't comply to it!! Copyrights will always exist (hopefully) and so, unfortunately, people will actually have to PAY for services and products in the future, oh boy, how sad!!!

Scapegoat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549567)

Sounds like they are scapegoating a larger issue on these 70 students. Lets see, they checked 250 accounts, they found 70 violators. This seems to indicate that around 20% of the students were violating the MP3 policy. Extrapolating from the articles mentioned figure of around 10000 people on the network, you can guess that there are around 2000 mp3 violators out there. So why arbitrarily punish 70 of them? Randomly enforcing a law is a very dangerous thing -- I wouldn't be surprised if some of these 250 "randomly" selected students were not randomly selected at all.

Re:Bend over like a sheep and squeal (1)

GPB (12468) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549568)

when the internet went public around 1995

Really? I must have missed that IPO. Does anyone know what the stock symbol for the Internet is?

Seriously though, the Internet has been "public" for longer than that, it was just harder for the average joe to access at the time.

-B

Re:And? (1)

behrman (51554) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549569)

You'll notice that the article didn't say that they lost any computers. They lost network access. And the network at the university would be owned by said university. In fact, as a sysadmin, if I knew my network was getting bogged down with that kind of traffic, I'd gladly do the same thing. Or something similar. I'd have to ask myself: WWSD?* * What Would Simon Do?

Re:And? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549570)

True...at first i thought the files were on the schools servers...but if CS broke into private students computers on the network, thats different. Could those actions be considered illegal? I mean just because you put your computer ont he network doesn't mean your network provider can try to break into it, does it? If i dialed into my ISP and they broke into my linux box b/c i had stupid passwords, i could still press charges couldn't i? Anyone know for sure?

Re:I hate the RIAA, but... (2)

Siva (6132) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549571)

"The distribution of programs and databases is controlled by copyright laws, licensing agreements and trade secrets. These must be observed."[1]

"The distribution of copyright protected materials is illegal and is in direct violation of the Computing Code of Ethics." "Users found to be distributing copyrighted music files will have their network connections revoked for not less than one full semester and may be subject to displinary action."[2]

1. http://www.cmu.edu/co mputing/documentation/unix/Policies.html [cmu.edu]
2. http://www.net.cmu.edu/docs/gui delines/reshall.html [cmu.edu]

--Siva (former CMU student)

Keyboard not found.

Re:Illegal search and seizure? Not. (2)

Rupes (61616) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549572)

>Where from that article did you get that the students' computers were being searched? The article clearly states that CMU "randomly checked
>the public portions of 250 students' computer accounts". In no case, however, were system admins "illegally" searching through private
>computers.

And, if you had read the previous comments, you would have realized that the article was wrong.
All of the CMU students here (including myself) have pointed this out.
ALL of the searched computers were private - I'm not sure where the article writers got
the idea that 'student accounts' were checked.

The "illegality" issue is that Computing Services attempted to break people's passwords.
This is a violation of the CMU Computing Ethics code, if nothing else.

CMU not a good net neighbor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1549573)

Funny that they will be so uptight about this, but go to great lengths to protect their open servers and promote spam: http://www.orbs.org/DAT/manual [orbs.org]

Re:hrm... (2)

Haven (34895) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549574)

it said in the article that they were held on public network space. Most Universities give you space to put files so they can used at the lab without floppies.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment! (1)

kmcardle (24757) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549575)

Doesn't the Consitution of the USofA protect us all from "Cruel and Unusual" punishment? Take away their mp3s, but don't cut net access! Somebody call the ALCU!

Re:It's their network... (1)

jeremy f (48588) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549576)

Most mp3s are in public folders on the network (Linux only people: think Samba in share, not user mode). Since it's mainly Win9x boxen, all you really need is a password to access a share, not a username, and many passwords are common "mp3", "music", and the person's name or computer name.

I doubt they busted anyone who ran an ftp site, in most cases that would require a port scanner to find them. If they didn't have a l/p to the site, then they have no evidence as to what they're distributing, and can't make any judgements as to whether or not they're "engaging in illegal activities".

Re:Network Access Revocation (1)

Chuck Milam (1998) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549577)

Why did they revoke access for running Linux? Sounds really dumb to me.

Fear and ignorance. Imagine this: "Linux is a hacker (should be "cracker" I know) OS, and therefore can only be used for serving illegal warez and running IRC servers and cracking into the university systems. If you allow Linux to be installed, the end of the world as we know it is nigh upon us...blah, blah, panic, etc..."

Of course, no one actually thinks: "Hmm...lots of Computer Science/MIS students might use Linux for class work, and actually, come to think of it, lots more students in general are using Linux just because they're sick of performing "Illegal Operations" and having to reboot three times a day."

A Linux ban almost came to be here, but it was killed quickly, thanks to the fact that those in the position to make the decisions had already seen the advantages of Linux, and were able to see the anti-Linux FUD for what it was.

Re:I hate the RIAA, but... (2)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549578)

Lets see: You blame the RIAA for Your Favorite Artist's inability to write decent songs.

Just because Your Favorite Artist sucks, doesn't mean it's RIAA's fault.


--

Re:I hate the RIAA, but... (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549579)

Personally speaking I have no problem with people making copies of music for private use, but putting them on the web/ public network so everyone can rip off the artist is definitely not legal or honest, however much I agree about the cost of CDs.

Read your AUP (1)

GPB (12468) | more than 14 years ago | (#1549580)

but is this an invasion of the students privacy/rights?

Not necessarily. Be sure to read your AUP. Some Universities that I know of have it in your AUP that any bits that reside on their equipment (web pages, shell machines, file servers, etc) are their property.

What does this mean? They can read "your" email? Yes. They can look at "your" files? Yes. They can remove/move "your" files? Yes. Your rights have been infringed upon? No. You agreed to the AUP that describes all of this. Read it!

-B
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