Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ohio University Blocks P2P File Sharing

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the forward-thinking-at-its-best dept.

The Internet 425

After receiving the highest number of notices from the RIAA about P2P file sharing, Ohio University has announced a policy that restricts all fire sharing on the campus network. Some file-sharing programs that could trigger action are Ares, Azureus, BitTorrent, BitLord, KaZaA, LimeWire, Shareaza and uTorrent. Claiming that this effort is 'to ensure that every student, faculty member and researcher has access to the computer resources they need,' is this another nail in the coffin of internet freedom in American universities or a needed step to prevent illegal fire sharing?

cancel ×

425 comments

I wonder what level they are blocking? (4, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877113)

I wonder what level are they blocking?

If its at the wall, won't internal sharing continue?
Just because you can stop the data coming in via p2p means doesn't mean the data won't be there (waste/DC can exist in a private garden without ever touching the real net).

Or is this an active process which does a portscans your machine continuously?

Failing everything else, there is always sneakernet. Expect a rise in blanks in the area.

Re:I wonder what level they are blocking? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877143)

PS, have I just found a way to do a hyperspace firstpost and actually opened this article up for other posting early?

if so, sorry taco it wasn't me *looks for the exit*

Re:I wonder what level they are blocking? (1, Funny)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877245)

I believe this is definitive proof of Hawking radiation!

This story obviously leaked out of the There is nothing to see here. vortex!

WOW players will be pissed (4, Interesting)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877303)

The Blizzard downloader uses Bittorrent to download patches.

Re:WOW players will be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877349)

Well, every cloud has a silver lining...

Re:WOW players will be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877381)

I bet they could download the patch 10x faster if they used a different BitTorrent client, though ;)

Re:WOW players will be pissed (1)

MrCawfee (13910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877635)

i've never met anyone who uses their bittorrent tool.... fileplanet.com downloads at 500k/s

Illegal ONLY if THE MAN Catches ME !! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877457)


Illegal ONLY if THE MAN Catches ME !!
    Muuuhahahahahaha

Re:I wonder what level they are blocking? (1)

dark-br (473115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877581)

> Failing everything else, there is always sneakernet.

Sneakernet [wikipedia.org] is dead... remember? Don't you dare copying that floppy! [youtube.com]

Re:I wonder what level they are blocking? (4, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877617)

I wonder what level are they blocking?
If its at the wall, won't internal sharing continue?

From the article, I guess they are blocking at the port level. That is, if Network Security discovers you have P2P traffic coming from your network jack, they turn off the port that serves that jack (possibly for 24hrs, or until you talk to them.) That means you can't even do P2P inside the local network.

We do this at the University I work for, unless you have a research need to use P2P (or some other legitimate need that has been reviewed.) I imagine they will by default disable P2P through their wireless network - but doing P2P over an 802.11 network would seem silly anyway.

give me a break (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877309)

They stop file sharing because it's clogging the network and people can't use it for real work. Please stop bitching about your perceived birth-right of file sharing.

Re:give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877341)

Isn't all network activity file sharing?

Re:give me a break (3, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877449)

They stop file sharing because it's clogging the network and people can't use it for real work. Please stop bitching about your perceived birth-right of file sharing.


If that was the reason, they'd just throttle it to a reasonable level. Also, if you would RTFA, that's not the reason that they give for blocking it; they just give it a mention after talking about all of the RIAA threats.

Re:give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877557)

What article did you read? There's only one paragraph about the RIAA threats and it's near the end. The article implies that the RIAA is the reason but offers absolutely no proof.

Nail in the coffin? (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877311)

It's not a "nail in the coffin" of anything. If college kids have to pay a bit for their own connection, they will. Hell, I bet most college kids these days all have cable TV. What's another $20/month on a $100/month cable bill? They call their cable company, tack on the service, and it's over. No controversy.

Re:Nail in the coffin? (3, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877499)

They don't always get that option. Back when I was at Berkeley in 2000, bandwidth was getting hammered hard. Some people even thought of getting their own service, but phone and cable co.s don't have the necessary access to the dorm network that they would need to put that in place, and rescomp wouldn't give it to them anyway.

Course, it has been 6 years, things may have changed, but I doubt it...

Re:Nail in the coffin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877603)

Wow! How long ago did you go to school? I graduated from CSUP at the turn of the century (boy, that sounds weird) and they PROVIDED basic cable and a couple movie channels for us in the dorms. But then, maybe they were making up for the otherwise unlivable conditions.

Re:Nail in the coffin? (2, Insightful)

postmortem (906676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877645)

I pay $200 /semester for computer use. And all I use is their bandwidth.

Re:Nail in the coffin? (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877861)

Sounds about right. Your average semester is three to four months long. $50-$60/mo isn't so bad for the kind of bandwidth most universities have.

Re:Nail in the coffin? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877915)

Doesn't that kinda depend on being able to use the bandwidth for something useful, though?

If the university is offering high-speed Internet access for free to students, then restricting it to ensure it's properly available for academic use is one thing. If they're actually charging for it at a market rate, then restricting it is completely out of line. If the students start doing illegal stuff with it, sure, kick 'em off if it's causing problems, but don't block stuff by default even for those who are using those technologies for constructive purposes when those people are paying for the privilege.

Re:Nail in the coffin? (1)

MoHaG (1002926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877961)

Here in South Africa we have to pay R0.50 / MB (US$1 is about R7.50 at the moment) All HTTP access is through a proxy and P2P is firewalled (no open outgoing ports) Some services are practically inacessible (such as web sites on non-standard ports, SSH, external email (webmail still work), external news servers)

However, bypassing this restrictions is not impossible, it has and can be done using tor (or another methods of tunneling) although setting it up (with proxy authentication and the restricted ports) are usually not worth the trouble.

You can't (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877969)

Generally, universities own all rights of way on their campuses. That's certainly the case here. All data, telephone, cable, water, electricity, all provided by the university to all buildings on campus proper, which includes the dorms. Thus you have no option but the provided dorm service. Here that's not a problem for most students, as we aren't dicks about it and provide pretty good service. However if they don't like it, there's nothing they can do. They cannot order other service, it simply is not available.

What may happen, and should happen to universities that restrict it like this, is they should get sued. There are limits to a public university's ability to compete with and to keep out private companies. This would be more than enough to insist that they need to be let in. Massive problem for the university to make that happen though.

Bandwidth? (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877319)

My college, which is private, doesn't allow even iTunes sharing amongst the students, because the bandwidth usage slows everything down significantly. Now, this is a private school and we aren't rolling in money, but it's still an issue.

Re:Bandwidth? (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877395)

My college, which is private, doesn't allow even iTunes sharing amongst the students

I went to a state college in the 90's and they kept the dorm networks completely separate from the school networks. I don't know if it was foresight or not, but they appeared to keep the college system up and running all the time, but the dorm network often slowed to a crawl (and this was before Napster) and you had to foot it out to a lab if you needed something off the network.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

guacamole (24270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877659)

This probably means that they still have decade old routers and shared hubs which probably don't even work at 100Mbps.

Freedom is not about theft (-1, Flamebait)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877329)

Universities are not obliged to support theft. When you download copyrighted materials at home it's completely your responsibility. When you do it on someone else's infrastructure they share the liability.

A university blocking file sharing/file theft is not curtailing freedom, they are protecting their resources. It's no different than a business preventing their employees from using the network to steal multimedia: they have an obligation to protect their resources, and stealing is not a protected freedom.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (4, Informative)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877397)

file sharing != copyright infringement != stealing

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877415)

1 != 2 != 1

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877417)

Copyright infringement is not theft.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877435)

Oh please. Besides the obvious infringement != theft, it's not a good idea for an academic institution to run a restricted network. Of all places where the Internet should be free and wide-open, I'd say that higher learning is right up there. There's 65535 ports available, and every one of them is going to be used by some system for some reason, most likely not P2P file sharing. Not to mention the number of legitimate things you might be downloading for educational purposes via BitTorrent (Ubuntu ISO, anyone?). Anything more restrictive than blocking ports at the firewall (which is pretty pointless anyway. uTorrent allows you to change the port being used) is detrimental to an academic institution's learning environment.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1)

Syphondex (1067362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877445)

Except that Illegal File Sharing is not the only use of P2P technology. I use torrents to get all manner of things, linux distro's being the one that springs immediately to mind. Most educational establishments already have rules governing how and what is allowed on their network, but banning/restricting a technology altogether is a bit naff.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877637)

linux distro's being the one that springs immediately to mind.

Some of us download Microsoft Windows distros the same way. Of course, the idea is the same.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877455)

The problem, though, is it's so very heavy-handed. This is a public university, remember, and to prevent any chance of copyright infringement they've taken away the students' rights to download audience recordings from torrent sites, or to use bittorrent to fetch a linux distro. Was it necessary?

Completely untrue! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877467)

completely untrue:

when you do it on someone else's infrastructure all they have to do is hand over user information, and they are completely in the clear thanks to DMCA safe harbor provisions.

A university blocking file sharing/file theft is not curtailing freedom, they are protecting their resources.

let's apply this to any other controversial morally loaded topic:

"a university expelling students for getting abortions is not curtailing freedom, they are protecting their medical resources"
"a university blocking democratic websites is not curtailing freedom, they are protecting their political interests".

Finally, downloading media != "stealing" media.

Theft involves depriving the owner of the object stolen, and no "potential sales" can't be deprived, or the same standard could be used to shut down lowes for "stealing sales" from home depot, or to burger king for "stealing sales" from mcdonalds.

These old buggy whip manufacturers dont deserve protection, theyre running an obsolete business model and their lobbying and legal efforts have and are still undermining the very foundation of free society and free markets.

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877701)

I'm not trying to troll, just trying to think some things out. For example, money (to a large degree) is nothing more than data anymore. Having money means having a balance record on some computer somewhere, a little platic card in your pocket, and a merchant who takes cards. If someone transfered an account balance from some random other person to himself, would that be theft? There are no tangible items involved in the transfer -- just some shifting of database records?

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877827)

Yep, I'm pretty sure that's theft. Sorry.

Now, if you were to magically modify your database records so you had more money without depriving anyone else of any, that would not be theft, but it would still be fraud, and illegal, and wrong.

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877847)

if that transfer of money created duplicate data and fooled the bank into giving him my balance without taking mine away more power to him.. i'm not out my bank balance and he is now X dollars richer..

otherwise, the transfer of money would involve my data vanishing, which is not what happens in p2p.

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877909)

Except if this became widespread, you would be hurt even if your money was left untouched. The increased "counterfeit" money would devalue the money in your account. The scale has to be large enough but if it is, you are damaged without even being touched.

Re:Completely untrue! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877947)

Nah, the government already does a good enough job devaluing our money. I'm sure this wouldn't even make a dent.

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877945)

Most people focus on the person infringing or stealing and think that because they come out ahead that the two actions are equivilent. However, there's a big difference apparent when you focus on the one being wronged instead.

In your example, after you make your illegal transfer, the other person no longer has access to thier money.

With copyright infringment, you deprive the other person of nothing. They still have thier copyright. They can still do everything that they could before you infringed.

There's a distinct difference there. Both are wrong, but ignoring the difference in either a moral or legislative debate is going to get you in trouble :)

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877951)

"If someone transfered an account balance from some random other person to himself, would that be theft? There are no tangible items involved in the transfer -- just some shifting of database records?"

This analogy doesn't really fly, since money is a finite and ultimately physical resource. But I'll play along...

Of course that would be. If you transfer the money out of my account that means I can no longer use the little plastic card in my pocket. And that I can't go to the bank and get the physical cash that those "database records" map to. I have been deprived of my hard-earned money. It has been stolen from me.

Re:Completely untrue! (2, Insightful)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877795)

Funny how the same baseless arguments are playing over and over like a broken record.

Face it-- downloading music is probably wrong, regardless of what you personally believe, unless you go out and buy an equal number of CDs for every album you download. Yes, it is a free non-rival good, but you should still be paying for it in some sense if you're getting something out of it. Anything less is just lying to yourself about the morality of the issue. There's no guaranteed "right to free music" for you or anyone else, nor should there be; try thinking about it that way.

Of course it's extremely complex -- for instance, I prefer to balance the RIAA and friends amorality by buying Indie CDs instead of big labels to pay for my "illegal" downloads. Yes, I know I'm a hypocrite, but who isn't? I know it's wrong, and I'm not pretending otherwise, but I am trying to realize the balance of "wrongness" and trying to work the free market toward supporting those who need it most.

But to stick to this incessant rambling about "it's not stealing you idiots, I'm not depriving anyone of anything" -- yes, we get it, how about a new tune? What's the next step? How do we support artists instead of using their music without paying? or, how do we support the artists themselves instead of letting 90% of the profit go to the RIAA? There are bigger fish to fry than protecting your own (non-existent) right to free music, so try putting all that brainpower to good use. We're gonna need it.

Re:Completely untrue! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877889)

But to stick to this incessant rambling about "it's not stealing you idiots, I'm not depriving anyone of anything" -- yes, we get it, how about a new tune? What's the next step?


the big 4 die? everyone lives happily ever after?

How do we support artists instead of using their music without paying?

live performance. you can't pirate live performance. No they wont get their solid gold lear jets, but they'll make money if theyre popular enough, and if theyre not, well they still want to make the music.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877501)

Universities are not obliged to support theft. When you download copyrighted materials at home it's completely your responsibility. When you do it on someone else's infrastructure they share the liability.

It has been said a million times before: Illegal copying isn't theft. Look up the appropriate statutes of your jurisdiction for reference.

Also, ISPs do not share any sort of liability for the wrongdoings of their customers (only their own wrongdoings, as it should be. Should universities be liable for people smacking others over the head with books they borrowed from the library? Ridiculous.

A university blocking file sharing/file theft is not curtailing freedom, they are protecting their resources. It's no different than a business preventing their employees from using the network to steal multimedia: they have an obligation to protect their resources, and stealing is not a protected freedom.

That's a cop out. Universities should be the private police force for the media cartel, they are there to provide education and do research and guess what: One of the hot topics in distributed system research are peer-to-peer systems, so banning them is directly opposed to one of their core purposes.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1)

Rebelgecko (893016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877529)

While a lot of material downloaded via bittorrent is copyrighted, not all of it is. By banning it entirely they are also preventing the download of Linux distros, Project Gutenberg releases, etc. To use a lame car analogy, just because a student's car has the capability of damaging property or hurting someone doesn't mean the college should ban students from owning vehicles.

Justify this : (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877555)

Justify that "excessive usage of mega-corporate wealth by applying pressure/bribery of elected representatives, putting laws that will benefit precisely and mostly the business type & business size that exactly fits one's own mega corporation, and then hiring lawyer armies to embark on oppressive & barely legal and even at times unconstitutional suppression of ordinary citizens just to be able to continue the unparalleled inequality & injustice between the cuts of oneself (the publisher) and the creator (artist) that is earned through sale & renting of intellectual property" is not a theft.

and then ill line behind you.

Re:Justify this : (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877627)

Only if you say it at the top of your lungs in a single breath!

theft is taking something away (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877689)

A university blocking file sharing/file theft is not curtailing freedom, they are protecting their resources


A weird reasoning you have, do you mean that when someone shares a file another file is deleted from the university computers somewhere? In case you didn't know, a digital file, differently from more material commodities, can be shared without deleting the original.


Anyway, that old, old FUD you are trying to spread on behalf of the MAFIAA isn't the point here. A university is a site created for one and only one purpose: to spread knowledge. That function is performed by sharing information. If one assumes your thesis that sharing == theft, then one must also come to the inevitable conclusion that when a teacher gives a lesson someone is stealing his knowledge.


A university cannot exist without sharing knowledge, in our age knowledge is contained in digital files. Without file sharing, a university would be just like any corporation. Would you sign a non-disclosure agreement when you enter a university?

Yes it is (2, Informative)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877703)

Freedom is about being able to do what you want. Responsibility is knowing what to do with your freedom.

Port blocking, while it will restrict copyright violations - is a restriction of freedom.

Re:Freedom is not about theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877715)

Yes because those Ubuntu and Debian ISO's I downloaded with Azeureus were just so illegal and evil!

Re:Freedom is not about theft (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877793)

You have to keep in mind that a significant chunk of P2P traffic (WoW patches, Linux distros, etc) is completely legal. It might be more reasonable for the school just to block sources that provide illegal content, or allow students to request that legal sources be added to a whitelist.

Illegal Fire Sharing? (2, Funny)

MarqueeMoon (953988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877355)

I think water would do just fine

Re:Illegal Fire Sharing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877733)

ROR. That's irregal too!

Re:Illegal Fire Sharing? (4, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877809)

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper [(candle)] at mine, receives light without darkening me.

That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson, 13 August 1813

That is the basis of both "information wants to be free" and "copyright infringement is not theft [in the literal sense]".

Jefferson's works make me wish Amnesty International hadn't already appropriated the candle-and-barbed-wire logo for themselves.

Tomorrows headline: TOR usage skyrockets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877357)

Tomorrow's headline: TOR usage skyrockets at Ohio University.

Re:Tomorrows headline: TOR usage skyrockets... (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877619)

Tomorrow's headline: TOR usage skyrockets at Ohio University.


I hope not, considering how slow it is already. Proxies shared across thousands of people really don't support peer-to-peer sharing of large files well.

What I DO suspect will happen is that students who live near, but not in, the University will start hosting FTP servers off-campus.

Re:Tomorrows headline: TOR usage skyrockets... (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877801)

Tomorrow's headline: TOR usage skyrockets at Ohio University.


Out of the frying pan, in to the fire [slashdot.org] .

Not because of RIAA alone ? (2, Insightful)

cyberianpan (975767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877363)

"Peer-to-peer file-sharing consumes a disproportionate amount of resources, both in bandwidth and human technical support." "Left unchecked, P2P applications can consume all available network bandwidth,"
The bandwidth is an ok reason.

It also initiated "John Doe" lawsuits against users of computers on Ohio University's network. The university estimates staff members have spent nearly 120 hours dealing with the prelitigation letters from the RIAA.
That's not a good reason. How are we to know which is the "real" reason?

Re:Not because of RIAA alone ? (4, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877917)

Why would you say the second isn't a good reason? Responding to properly submitted legal papers is a requirement of such an organization. Even if it turns out that the RIAA ends up unable to make their case, the university still has to bear the cost of responding to subpoenas.

FIRE sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877371)

like anyone smokes crack in those campuses or what?

Congrats for caving to corporate terrorism UOH (0, Flamebait)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877375)

this is exactly what they wanted you to do, and you did it for them.

the terrorists at the RIAA wanted to dictate your policy to you, and when you wouldnt do it directly they assaulted you with notices until you did, and they got it.

what lesson do we learn from this?

americans have become complacent. they are not willing to stand up for their fellow man or pay the ever present price of freedom.

This is beyond contraversial.
If the lifer movement kept bombing your campus would you include "anti-abortion" clauses in your admittance contracts?
If the christian coalition kept parading through your campus would you start refusing jews, muslims, and athiests?

for christ sake let your students make their OWN choices.

people like these should die in a fire.

Re:Congrats for caving to corporate terrorism UOH (1)

drukawski (1083675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877591)

Try maintaining that same tinfoil hat skepticism when your trying to do legitimate reseach for your graduate thesis and you can't even load google because everyone else in your dorm is downloading Alanis' parody of My Humps at 3am. The cost of collegiate education is high enough as it is, I'd rather not have to pay for the infrastructure to support your non-school related activities.

Re:Congrats for caving to corporate terrorism UOH (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877735)

I went through those problems living in a dorm, then they blocked p2p using the completely bogus "to stop viruses" excuse.

for the next 2 years the network was crawling even slower than it was before.

as for "non-school related activities": people live there. Its their home. I suppose university students are just supposed to be machines who do nothing but eat sleep and work, and of course obey whatever nanny-school tells them?

It's not about speech (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877403)

It's about controlling bandwidth costs that have soared as a result of the explosive growth of p2p traffic. I have spoken with several large ISP's in the past year and most of them quote numbers like 65-75% of their total traffic is p2p. Given the demographic makeup of most universities, I'd bet their percentage is even higher. Those big fiber pipes cost big bucks.

Re:It's not about speech (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877519)

Then put god damn bandwidth limits on students in both gb/month and kb/s with an easy to use system to apply for exceptions.

It's about money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877693)

Hmmm. How about they go out and get some T1 lines then share that amoungst themselves? I'm sure the "culture of sharing" and "information wants to be free" shouldn't have a problem with that arrangement. Plus guarenteed "unlimited" bandwith and the costs is an accurate reflection of the way the connection is being treated.

Re:It's not about speech (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877583)

So charge the students for their bandwidth usage at slightly above what it's costing. Use the extra money for upgrades.

Bandwidth is a resource that costs money - giving people "Unlimited" bandwidth and then degrading the internet connection to prevent "excess use" is absurd. Hell, if you give every student the first gig/month free most of them won't even notice the policy change.

isp's crying about having to provide what they say (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877633)

I have spoken with several large ISP's in the past year and most of them quote numbers like 65-75% of their total traffic is p2p. Given the demographic makeup of most universities, I'd bet their percentage is even higher. Those big fiber pipes cost big bucks.


and both isp subscribers and students pay big bucks, or is 5 figures a year not enough for them?

its one thing to apply qos to manage bandwidth, its quite another to start making student's choices for them and refusing to provide "internet" service.

especially for isp's.. if they cant provide the bandwidth they sold to their customers then they should be sued for fraud, not allowed to strip down and hobble what they advertised as "unlimited". Lesson to learn: don't oversell your bandwidth.

So drop a Layer-7 filter on it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877895)

Like a Packateer or the like. Just set P2P to a lower priority than other traffic. Thus it'll never interfere but get as much bandwidth as is available. That's what we've done here, works quite well. Also, then you don't get in to the problem of playing net cops.

Also there are plenty of legit reasons to use P2P. Linux being a major one. I find all the fastest downloads for Linux distros are torrents. Hell, when Knoppix 5 came out I downloaded it and then seeded over the weekend since it was summer and the bandwidth was mostly unused. I transferred about 1.5TB, and would have done more had I not throttled it. Clearly there's more than a bit of legit demand on P2P things.

Then you get things like World of Warcraft, which use Bittorrent to update. Even if you argue that the network should be used for nothing but education, there's still plenty of legit reasons to want to check out WoW. It's a massive social phenomena, and I can think of plenty of good research that could be done on it.

Of course saying that there should be no games runs in to a real problems that being the dorms. What right do you have to tell students that they can't do what they want in their home, which is what the dorm is? For a private university ok, fine, their rules, but in a public institution isn't likely the students could successfully launch an anti-competition suit against the university and force them to open up the dorms to competition, which would be a massive problem given that most universities are on their own wiring plan.

Finally, maybe the students should have a say in what their money is used for. They are the customers, after all. Without the students, there is no university. Maybe they want to be charged a bit extra to get more bandwidth. You'd be amazed at how cheap big lines really are in the scheme of things. Take a large university with a few tens of thousands of students and charge each an extra $5/month, you can buy a lot of bandwidth for that.

Higher learning (4, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877405)

In addition to consuming bandwidth and technological resources, P2P file-sharing also exposes the university network to viruses, spyware and other attacks. It also is frequently used for illegally distributing copyrighted works.
Replace "P2P file-sharing" in that statement with "the internet" and it is just as valid. This has nothing to do with any of the reasons they have listed and everything to do with them preemptively caving in to legal pressure from the RIAA.

Oh No! (3, Funny)

Rebelgecko (893016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877413)

Ohio University has announced a policy that restricts all fire sharing on the campus network
... is this another nail in the coffin of internet freedom in American universities or a needed step to prevent illegal fire sharing? >
Oh No! How will pyromaniacs share now? But seriously, it's kind of sad that a major error like that can slip through... twice.

Re:Oh No! (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877725)

What I find even worse is that 'r' and 'l' are on two completely different sides of the keyboard, not to mention different rows...

... unless they are using Dvorak [wikipedia.org] ?

Makes sense (5, Interesting)

MrCawfee (13910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877423)

I've worked at a college, in an average week we would get 10-15 riaa letters (with our seemly small number of 3000 residents), and responding to them gets to be a huge chore. Most campuses are taking the "we don't want to get sued, so we will not put ourselves in that position" approach, so ignoring those letters is not an option.

At the place i worked at, for a while we did try to block kazaa and the like, the problem was that there would always be a new protocol that would pop up to take it's place. We eventually gave up on blocking it because of this.

This story is really not a new thing in the university world, most have a policy of limiting the student's ability to fileshare (some through innocent means like NAT routing, others through throttling the bandwidth for those services).

So before we all get up in arms that people are limiting access, you'd think again when you have to call 20 people in a day, tell them why their access has been shut off, and have every one of them claim that they've never file shared in their lives. Only to get the call the next day where they complain that their their myspace is too slow.

Re:Makes sense (4, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877769)

You have two problems, they can be handled separately.

First, you get RIAA letters. The appropriate response is a form letter saying that "Our school privacy policy prohibits us from releasing user information without a subpoena or court order" (obviously you'll want to verify that with a lawyer, but you shouldn't be sending out user information based on random letters). If you do get a legit subpoena or court order, send them the info if it's still available.

Second, you have excess bandwidth usage. This is really simple: Charge the students a reasonable fee for bandwidth overages - this will encourage users to conserve without unduly constraining people who actually are willing to pay for their bandwidth. It also has the advantage that as demand increases you automatically have the money to pay for upgrades.

Re:Makes sense (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877787)

and have every one of them claim that they've never file shared in their lives. Only to get the call the next day where they complain that their their myspace is too slow.

uhh, I'm not an expert on myspace but I didn't know it was a p2p app.

haha oh wow. (1)

Atomsk013 (1050848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877453)

My friend and I go over to OUZ (Ohio University Zanesville) to use their wifi since we share a campus with one of the branch. Our college's internet is slower than dial-up. OU's wifi is so fast it's not even funny. Funny thing is we were using uTorrent today and didn't have a problem. We normally cap the upload/download due to the massive speeds.

Means to an end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877461)

I use p2p - most of us do but I'm certainly not suprised that a school has taken action to curb it.

Should all students carry guns to school because of the odd individual causing trouble? There's another alledged "freedom" violation.

Means to an end and sure, there will be some collateral damage.

Knee jerk (2, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877475)

So a few weeks back, everyone finds out that Ohio University leads the country in file sharing. Now instead of taking steps to try to curb this, they just announce they'll cut it off all together. I'm sure they felt pretty embarrassed being on top of the list, but there are other options.

Applause (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877481)

Applause to the BOFH that has pushed it through, though I would have done it differently.

Most university IPs are real on a really high speed connected LAN. As a result they get elected to supernode status by most modern P2P applications. As a result the university network becomes a jump point for NAT traversal for all leaches within 30-60ms rtt around it. As a result the resource usage is clearly disproportional to the actual on-campus usage. Essentially all small and medium corporates and home users sitting behind firewalls in the immediate vicinity live off that resource and steal a significant portion of the Ohio University network capacity.

Personally, if I was the admin, I would have tried to QoS P2P down (and net neutrality be damned) to the point where the campus is made equivalent to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately even if the protocols were easier to isolate, that may be quite difficult for a network the size of Ohio State. Most network equipment used at the bandwidths in question cannot do selective delays and probability drops very well. The P2P applications nowdays make the "if the protocols are easier to isolate" statement false anyway. All the developers know that they are committing a resource theft and they go way beyond what is considered spyware tactics to achieve their aims (current Skype is a fine example of this).

So on the balance of things, just banning them to hell is probably the most cost effective options. Congrats and applause. Can we have more of that please. A few more and the net economics will go back to where they belong so people actually start looking at things like multicast and frontline in-local-loop delivery instead emulating it through resource theft.

Re:Applause (1)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877621)

The story is about Ohio University, not Ohio State.

Applause-Bitch slap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877885)

I'm of the mind that the ones who brought this whole mess about, don't give a damn about society except so far as what society can do for them, or they can get from society even if it's unwilling. You'll make a note that a lot of issues would disappear if there were no society (in other words you all can't get along so go your seperate ways). No piracy. No hogs. But we do have a society and the majority do want to live within it and live within it's rules, and strictures. It's the minority (and growing sad to say) that will make life miserable for the majority until society either collapses, or wises up to the malcontents.

P2P blocking? (1)

Magic Fingers (1001498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877489)

RIAA, My Foot!

BitTorrent (1)

gregleimbeck (975759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877513)

It really is too bad Bit Torrent is being banned because of early adoption by Pirates. Granted, I became familiar with it years ago when I was Pirating a lot of things, but over the past year and a half or so the only thing I've really used it for was downloading perfectly legal Linux ISO's - with results always outperforming a typical FTP download.

I hope that Bit Torrent can gain mainstream support (browser plugins, etc) before it is written off as strictly a "Piracy" protocol.

Medium vs Message (4, Insightful)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877525)

The problem I have with these kinds of regulations is the confusion between the medium which is used to transport the data, and the message, the specific data being transported. If the Uni is unhappy about copyright violations, that's one thing; or if they have bandwidth problems, that's legit; but restricting specific protocols and programs does not accurately target the problem behavior. They seem to adopt the maxim that "the Medium is the Message"; that is, if something is being transferred by Bittorrent, it is a copyright violation. And granted, that is the case much of the time.

But it is not a perfect correlation. Banning Bittorrent will hamper downloading Linux ISOs and other high traffic, legitimate materials. There is no justification for saying that file sharing as a whole is illegal, any more than you could say that using the Internet is illegal even if it turns out that much traffic violates the law.

Against the grain (4, Insightful)

trisweb (690296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877531)

Everyone else is going to be "OMG lamerz teh MAFIAAAAA won because of retard schoolz like u" but seriously, why is this not a good idea? It's the school's network, the RIAA is actually on their tails trying (however illegally or immorally) to punish their students, and they have every right to restrict the use of file sharing services on their network.

Yes, I know that there are great legal uses for BitTorrent, but do you really think 95% of the students are using it to legally download Ubuntu or something? Yeah right. Get real and be honest with yourselves, this is probably a smart thing for the school to be doing. If the students want to download whatever they want, then they need to pay for their own DSL or move out of the dorms and be responsible for their own actions (gee, what a thought), but while they're using the school's network and the school is somewhat responsible for them, I think it's perfectly reasonable to restrict their illegal file sharing.

It's a whole other argument whether the RIAA sucks (they do) and whether file sharing positively impacts the recording industry (it might) but for a school, come on, it's their right, and probably the right thing for them to do. Get over it.

Re:Against the grain (2, Insightful)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877821)

Their network? Last time I checked my housing payments go towards paying for it. (Yes, I know it does, I've seen the budget). I'm paying for something I can't use freely... Thank god for encryption and VPNs. (Secure IX is pretty handy, albeit has some bandwidth limitations)

How can you block file sharing? (2, Interesting)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877579)

You can tunnel just about any service over any other on a TCP/IP network. Do they plan on blocking http? email? ssh? ping? If so, why offer any network access at all? If not, I'm sure the students are already at work with various stegenographic and tunneling techniques that let your share files over unconventional services. Also, when I share with my college peers, I generally just do so using a usb disk drive that I carry with me. I can move tens of gigs of data in just a few minutes. Does the university plan on doing a full cavity search of all students to make sure that they don't possess any readable/writable media? This is the information age. You can't stop people from sharing information! (fucking Luddites)

I'll laugh if it catches Blizzard's WoW patch (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877605)

Can you just hear the screams of agony if students can't download their normal patch updates for WoW? They'll be looking at FilePlanet and other places to get their patches.

This could be fun if they didn't exempt Blizzard. I didn't notice any mention of their legal use of P2P torrent.

Re:I'll laugh if it catches Blizzard's WoW patch (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877887)

Nooooooooooooooooo! I need P2P so I can ride my flying epic mount in Ironforge.

Re:I'll laugh if it catches Blizzard's WoW patch (1)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877931)

Not to disappoint, but the WoW patcher has an option to disable P2P transfer, and use regular ol' HTTP. It's not nearly as fast as a properly configured BT client (which the Blizz Downloader can be), but it's also faster than 0.

So, worry not. You can still sell your souls at $15/month (as I do mine).

Unsurprising (3, Insightful)

shogarth (668598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877611)

"Nail in the coffin of internet freedom" is a bit of an overstatement. There's no free lunch. Dealing with DMCA takedown notices is a huge burden on campus IT staff (our campus has a network security officer who has spent most of his tenure chasing movies and music) which cannot be ignored without the risk of losing the campus's protection under the DMCA safe-harbor provisions. Further, campuses don't have a magically free internet connection. Most pay into a state-wide consortium for Internet2 access then pay an additional, metered rate for commercial internet traffic. Why should universities spend limited resources to subsidize torrent traffic?

Now before anyone talks about the legitimate p2p use, even that is a questionable use of university resources. Ideally p2p shares bandwidth costs so that everyone gets something for a minor contribution. This doesn't necessarily work out to the benefit of universities since their fat, low-latency pipes take priority over the narrow, slow-upload-speed DSL and cable-folks. Ultimately, the universities have to allocate resources to support university business and this policy must be seen as a business decision. If it is necessary for an aspect of university business, I suspect an exception will be allowed as soon as a faculty member makes the request. If the students are miffed, they can pay for commercial wireless access (like most cell phone companies offer) for on campus or use xDSL or cable at home.

There are several reasons - here they are... (1)

Nick_Allain (997908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877641)

1) Bandwidth. College students think Universities have infinite bandwidth. The fact is that they don't. I went to a small college (1000 students + 200 faculty) and they both shared a max bandwidth T3 line. They used a network analysis tool to auto-turn off the connection to any computer (tracked by MAC address) that was using "excessive bandwidth" which was determined by a sliding scale based on time of day and overall network activity. The system could detect bittorrent and people were constantly kicked off for days at a time for using torrents. The point is, they needed the system. Without it, legit users were only getting download rates around 1.5 kb/sec with pings reaching over 1000ms. It was unusable. However, a system like this is rigid and requires constant administration from non-rigid IT. False positives occur (programs that auto-update - including Windows) were known to cause issues. IT needs to be flexible.

2) RIAA subpoenas. My former college sent responses to every request for information from the RIAA they received by telling them that they would handle the matter internally. That numbered hundreds. The school enforced penalties. If things are they way they were then, a large school would need to hire people who would stuff RIAA envelopes all day.

3) Network Worms. If I had a nickel for every college computer without a an up to date copy of Windows XP or virus scanner I'd be right next to Oprah Winfrey on the list of Billionaires.

4) Open P2P is a security risk. It causes havoc for IT. IT costs money.

But they can still pay all their athletes, right? (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877683)

Good. I'd thought they'd have to take a legal or ethical stand on something. Had me worried there.

In related news.... (3, Funny)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877737)

Applications by incoming freshman has dropped by 50%!!

Tunneling over https: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877775)

The end result of this kind of crackdown is that the next generation of P2P applications will simply tunnel everything over https:

Anyone who supports this idea is SCUM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18877791)

Yet another case of profit over people. Win/win for RIAA/OU and the investors who stand to profit. Lose/lose for artists and students.

When are more people going to wake up and admit that capitalism is the problem, was the problem, and will be the problem until we do something about it.

SHIT / GODDAMN / GET OFF YER ASS AND JAM

Re:Anyone who supports this idea is SCUM. (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877875)

Ohio University should just do what my university does (University of Texas as Austin), charge bandwidth per week. The "official" reason most colleges use to block P2P traffic is that it soaks up all the bandwidth available (which is actually quite true). However, that also given them a scapegoat to say "You kids are old enough to know not to break the law, we aren't going to actively deal with this". Oh well. I'm glad I'm not at Ohio University!! :D LONGHORNS 4 LIFE

No Servers! (2, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877905)

Didn't Ohio University already have a policy against students placing servers on the Internet? Hello! When you run P2P, you're running a server!

Re:No Servers! (2, Informative)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877967)

The problem with a "no servers" policy is that "server" doesn't really mean anything. A server is a computer that somehow serves information to another computer. Which includes every computer on the internet. There is no actual difference between a "client" and a "server". Even if a client computer is just sending a request to an e-Mail server, it is still serving data.

And it is not just a pedantic point. While it might seem like a computer that is only sending e-Mails is clearly a client, and not a server, what if you set up your e-Mail client so that it could automatically return e-Mails when it got them? And what if those e-Mails had attachments of files? You've just set yourself up as a "server".

I don't think there is any good technical or legal definition of what a "client" and "server" computer are.

Who owns the wires? (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18877955)

When the University owns the wires or pays for the connection, they do as they see fit as long as their policies foster academic research. But I think nobody can come and state that p2p have a real academic use without being called hypocrits. I hope the IT Service Desk (or the deans) will be open to creative use of p2p. If all else fails, a few quids should convince the BOFH of your needs.

All the bullshit about supporting theft or caving in to corporate terrorism is nothing but demagoguery. I so wish those inflamatory comments would return to the cellpool they came from. And frankly, speaking as a near-addict, being unable to update WoW is a boon to students.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...