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Starlyte

Campus Music-Swappers Beware:

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So, you've gotten this far without getting caught--well, most of you have anyway. Is it time to quit? Perhaps.

In a widely reported move, the Recording Industry Association of America recently shifted its focus from music file-sharing companies, like newly-reformed Napster, to the individual users of music file-sharing programs. College students across the country were slapped with subpoenas and heavy fines for downloading music over their campus Internet connections.

Colleges crack down

As the music industry chases highly active downloaders, several colleges have also cracked down on students who share music files on their networks. Schools are taking various measures to prevent, or at least limit, excessive downloading from servers like Kazaa, Gnutella, and iMesh. Here are a few examples...

The information and technology security team at the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) distributed a brochure of network policies to students this fall that revealed the consequences of exchanging copyrighted material. The pamphlet states, "The No Electric Theft Act makes illegal file swapping a federal felony, subject to $250,000 in fines and prison terms of up to three years."

Stewart Seruya, the school's chief security and network officer, says they are blocking peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic from campus terminals that enable users to swap music with thousands of people. "There's no absolute guarantee to blocking everything when there are so many P2P applications out there, but we're on top of it."

Back-to-school flyers and full-page ads in the student newspaper also cautioned students about the repercussions of trading music. Violators are disconnected from the campus network and reported to the dean of students.

"As with most measures taken to circumvent inappropriate computer activities, it is difficult to ensure that efforts are completely effective," says Gisela Garcia, the university's information technology security office project manager. "We attack the problem on multiple fronts by putting tools in place and raising awareness levels."

Full Article LINK

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*yawn* Another RIAA threat that is easily thwarted with a simple solution.

You know when you download songs, they go to a specific folder, called a "Shared Folder". This means that once it is downloaded, you are automatically sharing it as well (for most P2P programs, anyway), which is how the RIAA and other sniffers find them. If you move your songs out of your Shared Folder, into another folder or burn to disc, and empty out your Shared Folder, the RIAA can't legally find those songs. It would be considered invasion of privacy (In the United States, anyway) since you are not willingly sharing those files any longer. And since they generally lack the resources to individually track each user on the entire P2P network (especially if you swap around your login name to that particular P2P program), it's slim to none you will get caught.

Stewart Seruya, the school's chief security and network officer, says they are blocking peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic from campus terminals that enable users to swap music with thousands of people. "There's no absolute guarantee to blocking everything when there are so many P2P applications out there, but we're on top of it."

I'd like to see them ban ftp, http and irc connections (all very viable file transfer solutions). That's like saying, "We are closing all streets in the United States because people speed on them." It won't happen.

If the general public would be more intelligent about their computer security, especially while on the internet, the subpoenas would dwindle till the RIAA admitted defeat (which it should anyway) or invest millions of dollars on a tracking system, but I doubt that would be hard to get around.

/disclaimer/

I don't condone theft of music or other intellectual property, I am simply showing the obvious alternatives that just aren't stoppable.

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