Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

RIAA Targets LAN Filesharing at Universities 608

segphault writes "The RIAA has sent letters to 40 university presidents in 25 separate states informing them that students are engaging in filesharing on their campuses using the local network. Apparently, the RIAA wants to get universities to use filtering software on their networks to detect student filesharing. The RIAA did not disclose the methodology they used to determine that filesharing is occuring on those local networks, but it probably didn't involve asking permission. The article goes on to predict that the RIAA will eventually try to get the government to require use of anti-filesharing filtering technologies at universities."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RIAA Targets LAN Filesharing at Universities

Comments Filter:
  • by IntelliAdmin ( 941633 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @09:57PM (#15242273) Homepage
    Well it has been almost 6 years since Napster made its way into our lives? 6 Years Really? Lets look around and see what file sharing programs are left after the music and movie biz nuked the crap out of most of them.

    1. Emule [] - This is one of the best we found out there. Hint (Search for server.met on google to update your server list)

    2. Bearshare [] - Nice Gnutella client, lots of good hits

    3. Limewire [] - Another Gnutella client. It even works on the Mac!

    4. Shareaza [] - A beautiful Gnutella client with no spyware.

    5. BitTorrent [] - Perfect for downloading movies, or that latest linux distro

    6. KaZaa [] - Old favorite. Oh yea - Aussie users, you can't download - Yea Right!

    7. Azureus [] - BitTorrent client that works on Mac, Linux, and Windows 8. Morpheus [] - Wow. They are still around? Wha happened!

    9. Gnucleus [] - Open source Gnutella for you freeloading open source hippies out there - Yea I am talking about you

    10. Napster [] - Ah, just put this one here to see if you are still reading, and I guess for shits and grins too

    So there you have it folks. These are slim pickings. Get um while they still work!

    • by topical_surfactant ( 906185 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:05PM (#15242313)
      Don't forget MUTE []

      MUTE functions in such a way that it is excessively difficult to tell what user is sharing which files, but is still possible to get reasonably fast downloads.

      The MUTE project: []

    • Shareaza is actually a Gnutella, Gnutella 2 & E-Mule client

      And if you're serious about E-Mule, you'll probably want to use one of the other versions [] [German site alert]which provide in-depth tweakability.
    • KaZaa is completely broken; they only hash every other byte of every file, so the whole thing is full of junk. Worst optimization ever.
    • by paulius_g ( 808556 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:53PM (#15242578) Homepage
      I think that FrostWire [] deserves a mention aswell.

      Essentially, it's a open source Limewire client which connects to Gnutella. It looks like the "pro" version of Limewire, so it's easy to use but it's free and open source.

      Also, uTorrent []deserves a mention to be wicked-small and fast Torrent client for Windows. It only takes 155 KB of space!
    • Funny, the RIAA has done nothing to mandate that Linux/Samba, Novell, Microsoft, Banyan, etc., or any other OS maker that supports network-reachable file systems, to implement this. Or, push come to shove, mandate that EMC put stuff into Documentum, and require same for any other high-brow document management system (LiveLink, et al).

      Oh, and apps like Winamp, WMA, etc. that can access said network-reachable stores of MP3'd CDs.

      The IT groups and CompSci/EE/any other group that's computer-literate and has som
  • How do they know (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @09:59PM (#15242286) Journal
    but it probably didn't involve asking permission

    Despite the implications of this statement, what it probably really involves is paying off a student or two to sniff out and inform on filesharing activity, either by running RIAA apps or just manual searching. It wouldn't be the first time they've used this method.
    • Or via spyware-infected music CDs... Nah....
    • Re:How do they know (Score:5, Interesting)

      by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:35PM (#15242470) Homepage
      That's probably unauthorized use of the University's information systems. Running a third-party application meant to spy on students? Accessing the system with the intent of providing sensitive information on other network members to third-parties? The Universities should demand proof via IP packets, the source of that proof via the student-spy, and then expel the student for misuse of the computer systems. Repeat as necessary.
      • From the sounds of it, we're talking about open network shares here. It would hardly require any invasive software to find or browse them, and not likely anything illegal. In fact, ruling software that scans open SMB shares would probably be just as much a slippery slope as anything.
      • by raoul666 ( 870362 )
        Using the LAN to share files you don't have the rights to is also unauthorized use of the University's network. If the Unis expelled students for spying on pirates and didn't expell the pirates themselves, they would have a buttload of lawsuits on their hands.
    • Re:How do they know (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:07PM (#15242646)
      Despite the implications of this statement, what it probably really involves is paying off a student or two to sniff out and inform on filesharing activity, either by running RIAA apps or just manual searching.

      I think you're giving them too much credit. That sounds like something that would involve too much work for the RIAA. I imagine they just assumed the sharing is going on and are waiting for the univeristies to prove them wrong.
  • Enforcement? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:01PM (#15242296)
    Really, what are they going to do to enforce this? It's not as if they have a way to snoop on lan traffic, and if they did it would be illegal. I know that for one, my university has a "don't know, don't want to know" attitude about filesharing, so long as you keep the traffic below about 1.5GB per day. I really don't think they have the muscle to do anything about lan sharing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:03PM (#15242300)
    The RIAA did not disclose the methodology they used to determine that filesharing is occuring on those local networks, but it probably didn't involve asking permission.

    And it's really no big secret if you just ask either. Having just finished school, probably almost all of the filesharing is in copyrighted material which they have no right to "share". Therefore it is illegal and should be stopped. It was disgusting to me how much people were trading movies, games, and music which didn't belong.

    The schools probably will realize they could be liable if they don't try to put a stop it or slow it down. I like how the article and slashdot makes no mention of the copyrighted nature of the material, as if everybody is just sharing Linux distributions. At least be honest about this, guys.

    • maybe because it isnt the schools problem or responsibility.
    • Believe it or not, there are plenty of valid uses for filesharing. I took some design classes a few months back, and most of the class material was distributed via bittorrent. I doubt they're going to fold to the RIAA as long as plenty of people are getting mileage out of it.
  • by Virtual Karma ( 862416 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:04PM (#15242303) Homepage
    I have more than one computer on my home network and I share music between all of them. Are they going to get me too? What is the law regarding file sharing on a private network? What if my girl friend copies my music from my laptop? Is that piracy?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:19PM (#15242383)
      Yes, your girlfriend funds terrorism
    • How do you get her past your parents, and into the basement?
    • If it were up to them, you'd need to buy a copy for your computer and a copy for your portable and a copy for your car and a copy for your laptop. However if that doesn't completely undermine "fair use," I don't know what does. Of course, if it were up to them we'd all be paying $30 a month for the ability to listen to any radio station, regardless of whether we do or don't listen (I immediately gave up radio after getting a portable player). Plus the blank media tax that would apply to every single writ
    • >Are they going to get me too? What is the law regarding file sharing on a private network?

      Those questions have almost nothing in common.

      Traditionally nobody went to court to test the legality of sharing a CD with your girlfriend because that would have been insane. Ditto sharing it with yourself over your network.

      Then again, traditionally nobody sued dead people and people who've never owned computers for P2P file sharing. Budget five figures if you think you'll fight a case.
  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:05PM (#15242309)
    So are the universities (and all networks, by extension) supposed to sniff every packet and look for "copyrighted material" so it can take whatever action the industry think is "appropriate"?

    Perhaps every car should also have a sensor to detect speeding and automatically cut the gas?

    Fuck the music industry. Their ever more desperate measures only mean they are painfully aware of how irrelevant they are about to become.

    • "So are the universities (and all networks, by extension) supposed to sniff every packet and look for "copyrighted material" so it can take whatever action the industry think is "appropriate"?"

      What's yet to penetrate public perceptions is: Yes. Exactly. Precisely. The only way universal DRM can work is by monitoring every packet transfer. It's insane how much we as a society are giving up to preserve these niche market middle-man pricks.

      • You could be sending encrypted information. Heck, even using some sort of Vignere system would probably suffice to hide the content. So packet sniffing isn't worth much, if it's checking content. It has to check format, and then it only checks format. So if you have substantial non-infringing usage, that looks the same, in a cryptographically secure system, as substantial infringing usage.

        So, if you simply target peer-to-peer systems in a campus network (connections between any two student computers), well,
        • Then if you allow SSH, I'll just have to use port 22 for all my filesharing. (Which means I have to run BitTorrent as root, and I'm not willing to do that....)

          Why not? ;-)

          A "root" on one of the _virtual_ servers on your Linux box! Maybe you'll have to connect to some other port to ssh into your real system, but hey! ... ;-)

          Paul B,
  • by has2k1 ( 787264 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:06PM (#15242315)
    It looks like they will soon send messages to parents informing them that their kids are engaging in filesharing amongst themselves at their homes using the home network.
    • But what about the parents who are the ones doing the infringing? I know one friend who's father is a contract lawyer (dealing with IP-related things), and [the father's] the biggest collector of downloaded music I know (terabytes by now). I enjoy the irony.
  • who defined insanity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:07PM (#15242318) Journal

    I don't remember, maybe it was Einstein who said the definition of insanity was to repeatedly do something and expect a different result. Is the RIAA insane?

    This is cutting their (RIAA/Entertainment industry) future profits off at the source on a number of levels.

    1. The university demographic is probably one of the least likely to be their cash cows, i.e., many, if not most students aren't living fat and happy on exorbitant budgets (I know, some are). They don't have tons of money to fill the RIAA and cohort's coffers.
    2. Throwing the college campus dragnet may result in catching file-sharing but it sets the tone for how these students perceive the industry for the rest of their lives, and it's going to be adversarial in this light.
    3. In addition to poisoning their future audience, the RIAA misses a great opportunity to expose students to a wealth of music. Sure they're going to share, sure it's technically illegal, but they're going to graduate with some illegal tunes, and likely an appetite to get more music, and with real jobs and real money, most would pay fair prices.

    Also, it is so problematic to try and institute filtering in an academic arena. There are probably any number of legitimate ways and reasons to see file sharing on a college campus that would not be legal outside. This will force universities to layer artificial distribution mechanisms they otherwise could have handled with firewall policies. (All this at an added expense to universities, and eventually to the cost of an education.)

    So, once again the music industry goes to the "we don't know for sure, but to be safe we're going to assume you're a crook" mentality. The RIAA needs to listen to clue.mp3.

    • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:54PM (#15242579)
      The university demographic is probably one of the least likely to be their cash cows, i.e., many, if not most students aren't living fat and happy on exorbitant budgets (I know, some are). They don't have tons of money to fill the RIAA and cohort's coffers.

      IIRC (don't have sources, but I remember it from somewhere...), college-age people are historically the second highest spending group on music, only after early to mid/late teens. They may not have a lot of money, but they also don't have a lot of responsibilities for what money they do have. Music is one of their top purchasing priorities.

    • by theJML ( 911853 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:03PM (#15242624) Homepage
      The university demographic is probably one of the least likely to be their cash cows, i.e., many, if not most students aren't living fat and happy on exorbitant budgets (I know, some are). They don't have tons of money to fill the RIAA and cohort's coffers.

      I agree with all of what you say, however, I'd have to say that if anything the RIAA is shooting themselves in the foot even more in this crowd due to one overlook in the statement you made above. Kids in Universities (I know, I was there once) may not have tons of money, but a higher percentage of what they do have is disposible. They have student loans, they have parents assistance, they have federal grants, etc... and they have lots of free time and not as much forsight as some like to believe... Not to say they're stupid, they're spending habbits are just different. Go to an average college campus and check out the kids in the dorms for instance, they have more CDs, Game Systems, Up to date PCs, and are probably the single largest demographic for purcahsing many genre's CDs. All the people I knew in college had lan parties, got the latest CDs, watched movies all the time when not at class, etc... By sueing these people they're taking the money right out of their own mouth.
      They're also one of the most technologically impresionable group out there. If it's cool and high tech they'll go for it, however the RIAA seem to want to punish them for that because they don't know how to use it to their own potential.

      Off that topic, but part of the main article, I've noticed people saying that we should just not buy CDs to boycott the RIAA. Sounds like a good plan except when you notice that CD sales are down according to the RIAA and they don't blame it on themselves or crappy CDs, they blame it on piracy. So the more we boycott, the more it shows they're right. Maybe they should go back to school...

      And just for the record, I've been sharing files since 8" disks. I guess it was harder to sniff those, maybe I should go back to them... or atleast USB Drives. This may be the perfect time for a group of students to put up some WAPs and start sharing over that instead.
  • sure, sure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:08PM (#15242324) Journal
    That won't work very well.

    If I can get onto the same network as 10 of my buddies, chances are very high that they have stuff I want to steal.

    There's no way you're going to lock down to layer 7 filtering (looking at the program data itself, very intensive to comute) at a layer 2 scope (your local IP subnet, or close enough). So you either block SMB ports (file sharing altogether, the lifeblood of a computer network with actual users), or pay $$$ to filter it, poorly.

    Rumor has it that if I have my laptop at the library, and so do some other people, that we can magically create a network between us that has no juristiction by the University. Or maybe they *do*, but they have no idea about it.

    Any way it gets sliced up, the dollars can't keep up with the ways to get around it.

    • Re:sure, sure (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
      Well, an ad-hoc wifi network with no connection to the internet would be the best solution.

      Obviously, stuff like DC++ isn't cutting it. As a runner up, I'd propose a P2P app optimized for LANs.

      First you'd need to encrypt the traffic, then kick the data through [min number] other people on the network. It'll be like Tor, but at LAN speeds.

      If you really wanted to, you could toss a bandwidth limited proxy into the client so that any external P2P downloads are routed through the same anonymization network.

    • Re:sure, sure (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Large Green Mallard ( 31462 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:45PM (#15242522) Homepage
      Three words: private vlan edge.

      It's a Cisco config option that says client stations can't speak to each other except via a router. Firewall rules in the router to only allow access to a proxy server, mail server and dns server, problem solved.

      Then you'd need to leech via wireless, or physically co-located systems plugged into a seperate hub/switch, but at which point it isn't the University's problem, which is what the RIAA is looking at.

      Disclaimer: I'm an IT Security Manager for a University. Not one of the ones the RIAA has talked to (we're not in the US). The only way I'd consider those sort of restrictions on residentials networking is due to force-majeure in the form of a competant legal body or management direction. Residential networks are what contributes today to the collegiate atmosphere in on-campus living. These sort of restrictions impact that far too much for my liking.
  • by miskatonic alumnus ( 668722 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:10PM (#15242333)
    and demand that Congress pass a law requiring every person with a social security number to purchase 5 DRM loaded cd's per month, and staple their receipts on form 1040 come April 15th. After all, the government requires us to support the insurance companies by purchasing auto insurance. Why not entertainment too? I mean, EVERYBODY is guilty of pirating music anyway, right?
    • Hmm, my grandmother got her license taken away and doesn't have a car and yet the government doesn't require her to pay any car insurance. Where are you getting this from?
    • No offense, but how on earth is that "insightful".

      The difference between RIAA and car insurance is that car insurance is designed to protect the public interest. The analogy doesn't hold an ounce of weight. Car insurance is a civil responsability of those who own cars to protect other people on the road from bearing the weight of someone else's liability. And with the odds of getting into a car accident, it makes sense.

      A RIAA tax does nothing to protect the public interest.
      Car insurance does.
  • What about fair use?

    Is this new filtering software going to protect file sharing legally allowed under the fair use doctrine?

    How far will these greedy bastards go, what is the extent of thier selfishness and dishonesty?

    This is sad
  • I don't think that anyone is under the illusion that filesharing doesn't go on in universities. All they have to do is get the university to give them a fishing license to get a new group of people to sue. It's easier than developing new talent for their labels I suppose. The universities that are reluctant to comply, well, that's what the threat to go to the government is all about. Similarly to their cases against single mothers, grandmothers and dad people, they like to go after the low hanging fruit, an
  • Pretty Common (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dr Reducto ( 665121 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:18PM (#15242374) Journal
    This isn't anything new. The RIAA has been policing campus network traffic. USC's campus DC++ hub was busted by the RIAA after the RIAA came in and convinced the University to allow them access.

    All the RIAA has to do is politely ask (more like......we will hold you harmless if we are given access to investigate) and the Universities usually will bow in and allow access to the campus network.

    As for stopping campus filesharing, it's pretty hard to stop as long as it stays within the borders. And moreover, with students in such close physical contact, it's fairly easy to set up rogue networks, or even just swap burned DVDs/memory sticks.
    • Re:Pretty Common (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      as an admin it would be quite easy to subvert such threats, and i have not ever met a network admin who likes being threatened. first make sure the ops of the DC hub know which IP range is the ITS building, then give the RIAA access within the ITS building.

      i know i blocked the computing center when i was at university from even being able to see anything on my ftp server. well that and the accounts i gave out to people were restricted to their dorm IP or IP block so it would be considerably more work for
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:20PM (#15242392)
    When interviewed, the majority of congressmen said point blank that person to person "dormroom" sharing of music was fair use and in no way objectionable.

    Further, the DMCA's notice and takedown only applies to the internet, not local area networks.

    Any university complying with these bs "complaints" has to have the stupidest administration ever, and any claims made by the RIAA are now utterly specious.

    What next.. "illegal sharing through car radios"? .. "in the news today the RIAA demanded that automakers comply with new requirements to prevent passers by and non-drivers from "illeagally hearing" music from car stereos which "by law" is only entitled to the owner/operator of the vehicle alone."
    • What next.. "illegal sharing through car radios"? .. "in the news today the RIAA demanded that automakers comply with new requirements to prevent passers by and non-drivers from "illeagally hearing" music from car stereos which "by law" is only entitled to the owner/operator of the vehicle alone."

      You don't know how good an idea that is. I'd love for someone to legally shut those subwoofer hydraulics the fuck up. ;p
    • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:54PM (#15242865) Journal
      When interviewed, the majority of congressmen said point blank that person to person "dormroom" sharing of music was fair use and in no way objectionable.

      Sounds interesting. Link?
    • What next.. "illegal sharing through car radios"? .. "in the news today the RIAA demanded that automakers comply with new requirements to prevent passers by and non-drivers from "illeagally hearing" music from car stereos which "by law" is only entitled to the owner/operator of the vehicle alone."

      Already true in Finland for Taxi drivers - when there's a passenger, either the radio is switched off or the driver (or Taxi company) pay's levys to the RIAA equivalent here.
  • And next... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Transcendent ( 204992 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:20PM (#15242395)
    The RIAA will be going after Microsoft for allowing people to share files on their computer over a "network neighborhood". After which, hard drive manufactures will be sent letters informing them that their products are used in the distribution of copyrighted material and must include anti-file sharing technologies. Tesla will be woken from the grave and bitch-smacked for his accomplishments in electro-magnetism, and finally they will sue God for giving humans ears in which they can listen to stolen songs.

    Wow, that slope was slippery...
  • WASTE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FLaSh SWT ( 233251 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:22PM (#15242402)
    Am I wrong to think that a program like WASTE ( is the easy fix if they started sniffing the local traffic?
  • There is no way that the RIAA can expect the campuses to block all filesharing, and whatever isn't blocked will become the new norm. College students are especially conservative with wasting money on music, and with plenty of intelligent computer gurus around, even the most technophobic students will get friends to hook them up with free music.

    In short, the students will always remain one step ahead of the filtering.

  • ...and they'll just use another.

    are you going to block all of ftp, scp, mail, and so on? unlikely.

    I actually love watching this arms race. I know how it will turn out, too. ;)
  • The record cartel (RIAA members) are quite clearly evil. Indescriminately suing 12-year olds, senior citizens and welfare-moms has sealed their judgement in my mind. Eroding personal rights and freedoms for the sake of pure greed doesn't hurt either. Musicians stupid enough to sign with an RIAA member deserve no listeners, no profit, and no airtime.

    Don't buy RIAA member CDs, make music mixes for friends and support the indie scene. If someone chides you about filesharing, tell them to get stuffed.

    ht []

  • Glad to hear Georgia Tech and Boston College are safe!
  • I've got a list of all universities in the USA. Maybe the RIAA would be interested in buying it from me, for say, 10000$ and a life long guarantee that I won't get sued.

    And how the heck are they going to filter all that? My file sharing goes through NNTP, HTTP and FTP (and recently more often through SFTP)
  • when they outlaw loudly distributing music over the atmospheric network. Thus I will finally be able to get some sleep...
  • I heard that if the LANs were shut down, students could be sharing files using CDs, Zip Disks, or, help me, USB Flash disks!

    I think the RIAA needs to call on everyone to install antipiracy guards (otherwise known as superglue) into USB ports and disk drives of all computers!

    That'll solve piracy forever!

    (Note, that was sarcasm)
  • this is the use for a wireless mesh.

    if each dorm area has a person or two who knows how to set up a file server with some indexing and request code so the users can log in to any server in range, or ask for a list available on out of range server, out of range file requests would be processed by passing the file to a moderate sized temporary location on the intermediate file servers until it was accessable by the original requestor.

    a file in temporary storage which is requested often would be moved to a
  • by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:39PM (#15242498)
    How can any LAN data be admissible in court? There are two ways that the RIAA can get the data:
    1: gain unauthotized access to the network: a crime
    2: pay off students, who are not experts, or potentialy worse, students with know-how and malis to collect the data, so how can they prove that the data is valid, and not tamperd with?

    Any lawyers in the house? Care to give it a shot?

  • This would be a great time for students to start setting up wireless meshes on their campuses. The university can't regulate it or give RIAA a tap to go sniffing around. The infrastructure would be easy to set up too.
  • The RIAA did not disclose the methodology they used to determine that filesharing is occuring on those local networks, but it probably didn't involve asking permission.

    Share a copyright file on a major p2p network. Log all direct connections. See who the IPs belong to.

  • This happend to me.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ichigo Kurosaki ( 886802 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:45PM (#15242518)
    About two weeks ago the direct connect hub at the university of texas was shut down due to outside pressure from the **aa. Our ITS department already imposed strict bandwidth restrictions on amount of bandwidth used (4gb-12gb a week with more bandwidth costing more money). We used the hub to share files (primarily new tv shows) so everyone could get what they wanted without runnign out of bandwidth. Before the letters, ITS looked the other way because the hub accually saved them money on bandwidth. The owner of the hub had his internet revoked and was orderd to shut down the hub a facebook group and serve 40 hours of community service in exchange for not turning his name over to the copyright holders for prosecution.
  • In the UK, almost every university has at least one DC++ hub that a large portion of the student body knows about and uses. Many have customised installers that make it easy for lay people to get starting filesharing and, with computers so ubiquitous on campus, almost anyone has the knowledge to get involved.

    The thing is, these massively efficient networks that often contain dozens of TiBs of data would not be nearly as widespread as they are if it weren't for unwritten university policies. If the unive

  • by Gary Destruction ( 683101 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:53PM (#15242575) Journal
    Gonzales wants to track users on the Internet for the sake of "fighting porn". This in of itself is scary because it's not difficult to imagine the potential for abuse. Now the RIAA wants to monitor college networks for "file sharing". This could easily be manipulated to filter out certain ideas and beliefs as a means to suppress freedom of speech. It could also be used to target students for their beliefs.
  • The RIAA..? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wingman358 ( 912560 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:54PM (#15242582)
    First of all, why is the RIAA monitoring colleges' LANs? Is that even legal? Secondly, I fileshare on my LAN all the time. The sharing of my clients' orders and bills is necessary to the survival of my business. Don't flame me for asking this because I honestly don't know the answer: does the RIAA have any authority or legal right to be monitoring students and their actions on private college's LANs? Where does the Recording Industry Association of America get off thinking that they have any authority over the sharing on local networks?
    • Re:The RIAA..? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Randall311 ( 866824 )
      This all depends on if the students are sharing inside the school LAN privately like the i2hub did, or if students are hooked up to the outside world sharing illegal files via bittorrent and gnutella protocols. I'm willing to bet that it's the latter I have grown sick and tired of the RIAA coming after everything and everyone they feel are hurting their precious bottom line. They are alienating future cursomers with their scare tactics. I could give a shit if they have a legitimate argument or not, I am so
  • by ECELonghorn ( 921091 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:53PM (#15242854) Homepage
    Most of the time when I read the modded up comments below the summaries, someone has already said everything worth saying... but for this paticular article it seems like even a lot of the the +5 comments are, well, crap.

    I am a student at the University of Texas. One week ago our DC++ hub was shut down. This was unexpected and unprecedented. A few months earlier the school news paper even interviewed people with ITS who basically said they could care less about the hub. After the university received some type of a cease and desist letter, our school's ITS contacted the primary HUB admin, and long story short within less than 24 hours the hub had to shut down forever. Amoung other obscure sidenotes, they even ordered that the facebook group "Direct Connect Users Group" be deleted. My friends at Texas A&M have told me their hub is down right now too, similar story.

    Both our colleges had hubs constantly sharing about 20TB of data, 24-7, with net download speeds of 1.5Mbps. Every TV show was on our hub within 4 hrs of airing. Adobe Acrobat 7 and Office 2007 were both readily avaialable before I could, not that I ever would of course, download them from private bittorrent trackers. The files were never corrupted, there was no risk of getting caught, and everything mainstream you could ever want was on the hub.

    One huge appeal of the hub also was it's simplicity of use. 5GB share minimum was pretty much the only barrier to entry. I know friends who downloaded from DC++ who never heard of BitTorrents in their life, and for that matter, have asked me for help reinstalling windows. It was so simple and easy to use to the average non-geek that now that it has gone down people ask me what to do and give me blank looks.

    So in response to every post about other alternatives to file sharing or otherwise really miss the significance of this, I think it is quite a significant win for RIAA.
  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:55PM (#15242871) Homepage
    I really don't understand this witch-hunt against file sharing - peer-to-peer. etc. The Internet is all about moving files from A to B - http, ftp, scp, nfs, email, bittorrent...these are all just ways of moving data around.

    You can illegally copy copyrighted works using almost any protocol you can imagine - so the existance of a community of people moving data around means NOTHING. Unless the **AA can show WHAT is being moved around - and that it's illegal, there is no reason to single out any one particular protocol as the cause for worry.

    Even if you imagine one particular protocol is predominantly used for wrong-doing - you can't reasonably penalise the legal uses of that protocol. If you actually succeeded in shutting down one protocol - another can be invented overnight. This is simply the wrong approach to dealing with copyright violations.

  • by AusIV ( 950840 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:22AM (#15242997)
    There are quite a few legitimate uses of file sharing. Bit Torrent, for example, was designed to take the load off of web servers, not as a piracy tool. Yes it gets abused, probably more than it gets used legitimately (especially on college campuses), but I find BitTorrent to be great for getting ISOs of Linux distributions without burdening the the creator of the distro. There's no reason that ought to be banned.

    But perhaps a more significant file sharing program comes built into Windows. The Windows file share and samba allow people to share data between their own computers. If my university blocked samba shares I would be greatly inconvenienced. My main computer is a laptop that runs windows. It has a small hard drive, so I keep most of my files on my Linux box via a samba share. The Linux box isn't powerful enough to replace my laptop, it's just there to provide storage space. I'm not sharing my files with the world, or even a few other people on campus, so the RIAA has no right to tell me (or my university) that I can't share files between my own computers.

    As much as the RIAA pisses me off, I think the pirates are largely to blame. If some people weren't always trying to get copyrighted works without paying for them, the media producers wouldn't have nearly as many excuses to bind users to certain platforms in order to use the media.

  • Who Will Pay? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @01:21AM (#15243233)
    If the RIAA wants the university to filter their network to protect their copyrights and their bottom line then they should pay the university for all of the network equipment, bandwidth, employee/consultant hours, and any other expenses necessary to conduct the filtering. The mission of any university is to provide higher education and policing the student body so that a private industry organization, which is entirely external to the mission of the university, will not suffer from potential loss of profits is NOT the responsibility of the university. The question is not whether file sharing is legal, but rather to what extent the university can be compelled to shoulder the cost of protecting the intellectual property of someone else, especially in the expensive and escalating arms race between the RIAA and the file sharers. If the university makes a good faith effort to inform students in their acceptable use policy what is and is not acceptable use and complies with reasonable and specific subpoenas (subject to reasonable charges for research, copies, and other legal expenses that any other civil plaintiff would have to pay) the I would say that they (the university) have satisfied their obligation under the law. If the RIAA et al wants more extensive monitoring then they can shell out the $100,000+ for extra servers and network monitoring gear along with the consultants to operate it all and the university employees' time (billed at least $100 per hour for interruption of normal university related duties). They cannot compel us to pay to protect THEIR property, only the government has the power to tax. Anyway, no other private business gets anywhere near the cooperation from law enforcement at the expense of the tax paying public and still they complain. The FBI should be traking down the identity thieves, terrorists, serial killers, and other really nasty criminals...not wasting their time busting copyright infringers on behalf of the entertainment industry. The RIAA should get off our campuses and they should take their craptastic "music" with them.
  • Good Luck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @03:40AM (#15243637) Journal
    They'll never stop LAN sharing. While I'm an engineering student, most people can understand Filezilla, a nice ftp client that supports SFTP. Hard drives are cheap these days, and anyone with a weeks linux experience can set up an SFTP server and share the username password. I doubt my school will bother to track down and break the encryption on it, the worst ehy would do is shut off our connection for a day as a warning, and there are enough poorly configured wireless points that losing the ethernet for a day isn't a problem.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:21AM (#15243866)
    it's the RIAA. A dinosaur whose right to exist has expired.

    In my capitalism books, what is obsolete has to vanish to the market can concentrate on material that is valuable. Now, capitalism has been turned upside down. Obsolete companies and market structures are kept artificially alive with laws.

    Roll back about 100 years, when the automobile came into existance and hackney coaches became obsolete. Remember the laws that look so stupid today? The "man waving a red flag that has to walk in front of automobiles" and similar rubbish? Same shit.

    What did it serve? It was annoying then, and it's something we can only shake our heads at today. Who'd come up with a STUPID law like that?

    Well, now you have it all over again. Instead of traffic laws, now it's copyright laws that come up with harebrained ideas to protect a business that is essentially dead.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @07:08AM (#15244071) Homepage
    The RIAA has sent letters [CC] to 40 university presidents in 25 separate states informing them that students are engaging in filesharing on their campuses using the local network.

    Assuming university computer networks are not public, wouldn't that constitute illegal access to their computer systems? I don't remember anything in the law suggesting it was okay to illegally access someone's system if you thought there was abuse of your IP going on...not that we're buying RIAA's definition of abusing IP in the first place.

    Why isn't the FBI asking RIAA how they got access to those networks? Perhaps they're busy out intimidating Republican political opponents. It is getting down to six months before the election, this would be their busy time of year.

  • by Stormbringer ( 3643 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @07:32AM (#15244136)
    ...and I, for one, can't wait to see it happen.

    These schools (and, eventually, all others) are going to have to ban all RIAA recordings, in ANY format including CD and tape, from their campuses, with violations subject to immediate seizure and disposal. That includes blocking any radio feeds and frequencies that carry their tunes. That's the only way to end the legal exposure to RIAA racketeering.

    There's plenty of good music out there that isn't RIAA-tainted. Blanket-banning the tainted stuff will be a GOOD thing.

Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the Open Software Foundation] is its mouth. -- John Gilmore