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Do you think universities should prohibit all peer-to-peer file sharing to stop illegal downloading?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 18, 2007

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Photo of Jay Maus

“No. I don’t believe that technology should be restricted based on what it could be used for. I think that’s short-sighted.”

Photo of Caitlin Dixon

“I don’t think they should. I just don’t think it’s their right to do that.”

Photo of Richard Demby

“No. I don’t think they should stop it completely, but I do think they should be able to look at what you are downloading to catch people who are doing it illegally.”

Photo of Kaley Ostrander

“I would say just let them do it. It’s the students’ choice whether or not they download illegally.”

Comments

jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

No offense, man, but a OTS question that said "Should we help the victims of cyclones?" would be pretty uninteresting.

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hockmano 6 years, 5 months ago

Who gives a crap? Aren't there famines or cyclones or homeless people we should take care of somewhere? Forget about the music for crying out loud.

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DotsLines 6 years, 5 months ago

"Perhaps they should charge for bandwidth usage, but exempt those who can demonstrate a solid academic need from the charges?"

It's been a long time since I had a university-related account, and it was dial-up back then. Students got a free account, but limited to something like 20 hours per week. You could ask for more (I once did and got it) if you could demonstrate academic need. I don't see why KU's system couldn't be set up in a similar manner.

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DotsLines 6 years, 5 months ago

"I can say with absolute certainty though, that of the music I downloaded back then, less than 25% of it is stuff I would have purchased. If I had had to pay, I just wouldn't have obtained that music."

Ditto. I'll also add that some things I got from Napster back in the old days actually did prompt me to buy the CD, for various reasons - like the downloaded copy wasn't the best quality, or it turned out there were other songs that I liked besides the one that was getting radio airtime, or because I wanted to be able to play it in the car (a lot of early car CD players had difficulty with CD-Rs), etc.

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Agnostick 6 years, 5 months ago

1) Get together with 9 or 10 of your friends.

2) Each person go out and buy a new CD that everyone in the group has an interest in.

3) Each person take their new CD and make 9 or 10 copies of it.

4) Everyone meet in a private home or apartment to swap and trade new music over a few cold beers, maybe some pizza or Chinese food.

Including cost of blank CD-Rs, cases, your new CD etc.... shouldn't be more than $20-25. Which means you only paid @ $2 for each disc. The beer and food is optional, of course.

And you never went on the Internet.

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org http://www.americanplan.org

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staff04 6 years, 5 months ago

Not totally on the topic, but a related topic I have been thinking about lately. The entertainment industry recently claimed $18 Billion in losses for a single year, attributed to illegally downloaded materials.

I'm not saying that they don't have a legitimate claim of harm, but I have a problem with how they arrive at the number. I think it is really bold (and probably a little arrogant, if you think about it) of the entertainment industry to assume that every file that was downloaded illegally would have otherwise been purchased.

I have not illegally downloaded anything in years, but can hardly claim to never having done it prior to its rise as a big industry issue. I can say with absolute certainty though, that of the music I downloaded back then, less than 25% of it is stuff I would have purchased. If I had had to pay, I just wouldn't have obtained that music.

I still see the wrong with illegally downloading copyrighted material, which is why I haven't done it in a long time and definitely not since it has been an issue the courts have taken interest in, but I think it is somewhat dishonest for the industry to inflate their losses based on an assumption of real losses in every case of someone illegally downloading.

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badger 6 years, 5 months ago

Should they stop a practice that has legitimate use (many people, especially in academia, use peer-to-peer file sharing for group work across a wide geographic distribution) simply because some people use it in an unethical manner? Of course not.

Should they limit the use of peer-to-peer file sharing as it pertains to bandwidth usage? If it's affecting others, absolutely. Perhaps they should charge for bandwidth usage, but exempt those who can demonstrate a solid academic need from the charges?

Besides, from a realistic perspective, if they limit it, you know someone will just hack the system and they'll end up only penalizing the people who would have been using it legitimately, anyway. That's the problem with the culture of prohibition - the only people you actually stop are the ones who were probably obeying the laws already.

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, I'm sure Callahan could find a job at a high school somewhere around here.

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pimp11 6 years, 5 months ago

Sgt/HL

How about replacing him with Callahan when hes given the boot from Nebraska.

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H_Lecter 6 years, 5 months ago

Sgt., I agree w/the DI experience. We suffered through the Terry Allen years. Hope you get the best candidate.

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DotsLines 6 years, 5 months ago

Can they do it? It's their system, and if they want to, they can block students from going to MySpace or YouTube. Should they? No more than they should outlaw DVRs in dorm rooms based only on the possibility that they might be illegally recording copyrighted television shows. Bandwidth is a concern, though - legal or otherwise, it's possible to download tremendous amounts data - I'm not on KU's system, but in the past few months I've got over 600 GB of downloaded movies.

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 5 months ago

H_L, I'm not really sure who the leading candidate is right now; U-M football is great at giving away no information whatsoever, so it seems like nobody really knows who's next. The two candidates I hear mentioned a lot are Les Miles and Jeff Tedford (Cal); I'd be okay with either one. Another one mentioned a bit less seriously is Brian Kelley (Cincinnati, formerly Central Michigan), but I don't see Michigan going for a guy with so little in the way of a D-1A track record. I would prefer Miles or Tedford over Kelley.

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H_Lecter 6 years, 5 months ago

Sgt. Who do you want to replace Carr? Is Les Miles the leading candidate?

HL

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jumpin_catfish 6 years, 5 months ago

Should all steel production be prohibited because it may be used for illegal activities (knives, gun etc)? LJW what a dumb question.

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm pretty sure it is their right to regulate their bandwidth as they see fit.

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enochville 6 years, 5 months ago

No, not all peer-to-peer file sharing involves protected files. However, the universities might want to charge individual students extra for the excessive bandwidth usage if they are continually downloading massive files.

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