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Universities clamp down on internet piracy

David Landes · 15 May 2009, 08:17

Published: 15 May 2009 08:17 GMT+02:00

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The internet access bans have come following complaints from American film companies that the university’s networks are being used to illegally download copyrighted material.

“We cut people off when we get a second notice,” said Linköping University IT-security specialist Johannes Haasmund to Sveriges Radio (SR).

But Haasmund admitted that the university doesn’t verify whether or not the file sharing actually involves copyrighted material, but instead takes actions based only on the complaints it receives.

According to Sweden’s new anti-piracy law, a film company wishing to block a user suspected of illegal file sharing via a commercial internet service provider (ISP) must submit the request to judicial review.

In contrast, universities connected to the Sunet university computer network can simply cut off access without any formal review.

Thorbjörn Wiktorin, who works with IT-security at Uppsala University, said his school takes swift action because it is a public institution, not a commercial venture.

He estimates about 100 Uppsala University students have had their internet access revoked since October, but added that improved behaviour can lead to a restoration of network access privileges.

But the universities’ actions have sparked outrage from Moa Neuman, head of Sweden’s association of student unions, Sveriges förenade studentkårer (SFS) who is concerned about the consequences a loss of internet access might have as the end of the academic year approaches.

“It can have consequences for students and their ability to complete their studies if they don’t have internet access, because that’s really important for a lot of students right now,” she told SR.

Story continues below…

“It can also have consequences for how these students’ views about a just society.”

In reaction to the university’s decision to cut off internet access for students suspected of internet piracy, SFS has joined forces with the Pirate Party’s youth wing, Young Pirates, to demand that universities stop the practice.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:04 May 15, 2009 by Keith #5083
In a 'just' society people would not 'steal' other people's property,Moa! Why is it that,so often,attempts to shift responsibility to someone/something else is the first line of defence?

If you download pirate material,you are stealing!

If you breach the rules it is absurd to refuse to accept the consequences.

I,personally, do not agree with the 'rules' that charge crazy high prices for films/music etc. - but stealing it is not a solution. Want to change the system? Stop using the product! Boycott all companies who cannot offer a legitimate download version for,say, SeK 30 - and you use your own HDD space/blank cd-dvd to 'hard copy'.

That said I am also a little confused at how your behaviour can 'improve' to allow a restoration of network access priviledges - when you have been cut off. I guess you still have access to some kind of internal network,but not internet. Is that a correct understanding?
10:33 May 15, 2009 by iwissam

Before jumping to conclusions and assuming that all of these students are stealing "copyrighted material" you have to read again...

"university doesn't verify whether or not the file sharing actually involves copyrighted material,"

for example if someone is downloading linux from Chalmers university or Stockholm university using bit torrents, he/she might be revoked of access.
12:22 May 15, 2009 by Prat
Some artists hate their music being heard free on the radio - of course they'd like a dollar from every listener. Other writers are angry with readers borrowing books from the library. Are we stealing if looking at a lovely face in a public place? Am I stealing if I listen to a CD at my friend's house without paying? Poppycock & balderdash & a pot of pricey jurists.
12:36 May 15, 2009 by "green Swede"
nice one, prat,i find it very hard to believe that keith has never,down through the years recorded a movie on to video from the tv,a song from the radio or borrowed his mates album to copy onto casette etc,it's possible but HIGHLY unlikley.this is the 21st century and today's laptop is yesterday's vhs recorder etc etc.thats just the personal argument,not mentioning the right to complete internet access and of course privacy issues.
13:54 May 15, 2009 by totyis
I find terrible that American film companies are already able to have a "word to say" (read influence) about Swedish universities' policies. People of Scandinavia and people of Europe have seemingly forgotten the struggles, the wars (and the victims) their ancestors had to fight for us to enjoy the liberties we take today as granted. Sad. I would propose instead that this whole branch of entertainment came up with a new, innovating way to distribute their (mostly lame) products more securely. They have the financial means to do this. Internet should have as first commandment: be free, create, share freely.
14:32 May 15, 2009 by eZee.se
Keith, you are either just stupid or a shill...or maybe misguided...

downloading is NOT stealing:


This is a sad development indeed, placing guilt on accusation where the accused has to prove his/her innocence and is presumed guilty until they do... without court order, giving higher precedence to "copyright" than their studies... that too towards the end of the academic year.

Right time this is happening though, just in time for Students to vote for the PiratParty.

Just got my voting slip in the mail, guess who I'm voting for ;)
16:09 May 15, 2009 by kaze
The idea that piracy = stealing has grown very old. I wonder if people who claim that even realise quite how stupid what they're saying is?
18:16 May 15, 2009 by Xzion
Very Funny ...

i know what university will look like after few years .

now i will take my flash and will download from computer lab because they cant cut it down.

then university will force login policy .

then my friends will steel my login and will breke security protocols of lab.

then university will assign one computer to one student for 4 hours a day, and still we are not sure that any security can stop it.

why not just ISP do their job and dont tuch students, we are alrady facing other problams in 2011why you want to make it more serious
18:21 May 15, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Actually, you're copying it from the person who uploaded it onto the internet in the first place. Even then the most they could be accused of is copyright infringement. Don't buy into all that entertainment industry propaganda, man. Copyright infringement is not theft. It's never been theft and it never will be theft.
22:04 May 15, 2009 by sruk
My neighbor has a party tonight..so far we went through 27 mostly crappy songs.

Does anybody know where i can send the money for the copyright ..I don't want my listening device confiscated by the police...
02:22 May 16, 2009 by Dagem Hailemariam
Keith #5083

Downloading in itself is not a crime get your facts straight...its uploading that people think is a crime...the bigger crime though is how much the film and music industry make compared to how many people in the world can't even clothe, shelter and/or feed themselves.

File Sharing by definition is the equivalency of me buying a DVD or CD and mailing (posting) the physical DVD or CD to someone lets say in Japan...Is that a crime? I don't think so...then why should it be a crime to do it online instead of posting it in the mail? Stop tripping and focus your energy on Feeding, Clothing, and sheltering people!

One way or the other we need to get our priorities straight in this world and stop wasting so much time on this issue when we have so many bigger issues at hand!


Yeah...send it to my bank account :- P
15:33 May 18, 2009 by UnklFungus
I am SO sick of the BS lies some people use to justify their actions of STEALING movies, music, games, books OS's etc.

If you get something for free when you are supposed to pay for it, then it is STEALING! There is no other definition. I don't care if you upload or download. It is still STEALING! People upload because there is a market in it. No one downloads and no one will upload.

You can try and justify it one way or another, but the facts are the facts. If you went into a store and took a copy of it from the shelves and then stuck it in your shirt/coat/bag you are stealing. There is no difference in this and ILLEGALLY downloading something.
15:47 May 18, 2009 by unkle strunkle

No relation, as far as I'm aware. However, we New World unkles have yet to research our family line further than 15 generations back.
16:07 May 18, 2009 by Jamtjim
Actually Uniklfungus, someone is stealing if they dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

As when someone downloads music or a film they are not depriving the owners of anything, the act of downloading is not stealing.

This is why going into a shop and physically taking something is different to downloading copyrighted material. It is true that they may both be illegal but to claim that they are the same is a facile and inaccurate arguement.

Now, one can argue that by downloading something you deprive the copyright owner of the money that you would have spent had you bought the item in question. However I am sure that often people download stuff they never would have payed for. Indeed you can argue that people may actually buy something as a result of hearing / watching it first as a result of an illegal download.

I believe you should call a spade a sapde. To steal is differant to infringing someones copyright end of. Dont try to strengthen your case by misrepresenting it...
21:20 May 18, 2009 by Jakub72
The crap I have downloaded over the many years I would of never bought, because it was crap and therefore 'they' have lost no money.

Nope, the artist I love get all my hard earned money. Won't do it to them out of respect. Very very subjective but its my choice...

So my buddy loads up his 300 dvd player to my SlingBox on the secondary input and loads it up with all his DVDs and rentals. I am not paying for it and its copyright infringment, but I am not going to loose any sleep over it. Those fat bastards need to maintain a life style that has come and gone and they need to protect the cash cow. Its a loosing battle and it's about damn time.
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