IT has dealt with 191 cases of copyright violations on campus this year.
IT cracks down on Web piracy
The controversy over Internet file-sharing and copyright
infringement continues to affect young adults on a daily basis, and
OU students are no exception.
Information Technology receives approximately 20 requests each
week from corporations to stop downloads of copyrighted music,
movies and software, said Michelle Wiginton, Information Technology
communications liaison, in an e-mail.
Companies like Universal Studios, Microsoft and Sony, in
association with the Recording Industry Association of America and
the Motion Picture Association of America, actively investigate
individuals they suspect of violating copyright laws, Wiginton
Wiginton said violators are pursued by the corporate owners of
the material under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which
allows them to prosecute individuals they suspect of illegal
copying or distribution.
As of this date last year, there were 257 cases of copyright
violations on campus addressed by IT. This year, there have been
191, Wiginton said.
Daniel Lee, University College freshman, said he called IT
earlier this semester when he found that his Internet access had
been blocked. He said they told him to go to the Office of Legal
Counsel in Evans Hall. There, he was informed that they knew he
downloaded the movie “Zoolander” and toldhim to sign a
document saying he wouldn’t download any more files.
Lee said he didn’t expect OU to know exactly what he had
downloaded but did not believe his privacy had been invaded because
he had also downloaded several other files that could be considered
“I’m surprised they only found out about that one
file,” he said.
Emily Hayes, University College freshman, said IT knew of five
songs she had downloaded from the iMesh file-sharing program but
said IT didn’t mention her other files.
“It’s kind of creepy how they know what I have on my
computer,” she said.
Hayes said she was told by Legal Counsel that, if more illegal
files were discovered, she would be charged $30 for IT to restore
her Internet access. She said she was told by IT that “legal
action would take place” if she illegally downloaded more
Eric Swenson, University College freshman who was caught
downloading “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” said
he was offended that IT turned off his computer without contacting
him first. He said this policy could make it impossible for
students to access important information.
“They don’t have the right to come in and look at
what’s on my computer,” Swenson said.
Swenson said he thought it would be impossible for OU or the
corporations to stop music-sharing on the Internet because more
programs like Kazaa will appear.
According to a Feb. 6 article in The Chronicle for Higher
Education, an informal survey of college technology officers
revealed that aggressive anti-piracy efforts, particularly from the
music industry, have had little impact on college file-sharing.
Victor DeBrunner, OU budget council member and electrical and
computer engineering professor, said the costs for IT to monitor
downloads and of potential liability in the event of a lawsuit
being filed against a student were discussed at the Jan. 21 Budget
“In a civil suit, they sue everyone with a remote
connection, and the university would have more than a remote
connection,” DeBrunner said.
Wiginton said network equipment tracks IP addresses over a brief
period of time, “then a manual process is
Wiginton said user accounts or network access are cut off in
response to every complaint of copyright violation. The policies
apply to everyone, including students, faculty and staff, without
exception, she said.
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