Category Archives: Campus Piracy

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MIT Is Target of Hacker Group Following Suicide of Internet Activist

The home page of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was disabled on Sunday evening by the notorious hacker group Anonymous, hours after the university’s president announced an investigation into MIT’s role in a criminal case against the Internet activist Aaron H. Swartz, who committed suicide on Friday.

The attack was part of an outcry against MIT and prosecutors who were seeking to punish Mr. Swartz for what he considered cyberactivism. The 26-year-old programmer was facing up to 35 year…

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Canadian Faculty Union Warns That Student Postings of Lectures Could Violate Copyright Law

The faculty union at the University of Manitoba, in Canada, sent an e-mail message to its members this month alerting them to a popular Web site where students are sharing course materials, including what the union calls professors’ “intellectual property.”

In the e-mail, the union defines intellectual property as “lectures, course notes, laboratory materials, exams, and other works created by members for their class,” which cannot be published without the author’s permission. The e-mail encoura…

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U. of Alaska Slows Internet to Curb Illegal Downloading

Students at the University of Alaska at Anchorage are bracing for an Internet slowdown. According to an Associated Press report, the university will slow Internet connections in campus dorms from 10 megabits per second to 2 megabits “to prevent students from infringing on copyrights when downloading movies, music, and videos.”

A university IT official said that complaints from the recording and entertainment industry triggered the decision. There were 878 complaints last year, the official said,…

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U. of North Carolina Stops File-Sharing Before It Starts

The University of North Carolina has a special message for students who want to access the dorm’s Internet network: “UNC-CHAPEL HILL IS BLOCKING FILE-SHARING THROUGHOUT STUDENT HOUSING.”

That’s at the top of a Web page which pops up on laptops that have file-sharing programs, when they connect to the university’s network. Students aren’t allowed to access the Internet until they’ve uninstalled the offending software or request an exception that the university is calling a “hall pass.”

The pass i…

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Seizing on Student’s File-Sharing Case, Advocates Press for Copyright Reform

Picture of Joel

Joel Tenenbaum (Bizuayehu Tesfaye, AP Images)

For Joel Tenenbaum, years of battling the music industry have come down to a question of money. How much will the Boston University graduate student have to pay for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs?

But for copyright-reform advocates, a lawsuit filed against Mr. Tenenbaum by the music industry has provided an instrument to sound alarms about a broader issue: how fear of enormous damages can chill innovation that involves even a minimal risk…

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Hip-Hop and Copyright Law in the Classroom

Kembrew McLeod’s youthful interest in 1980s hip-hop became a life-long scholarly pursuit when some of the groups he’d listened to as a teenager were sued in the early 1990s for using samples of previously recorded music.

“The issue—how the law affects sampling—is the entire reason I’m a professor,” says Mr. McLeod, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa.

It’s the subject of his second documentary film, Copyright Criminals, co-directed by Ben Franzen, which ra…

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Professors Publish Guide to Copyright Issues of Multimedia Projects

Students often create multimedia projects for classes that blend in clips from YouTube videos or hit songs, and many want to post their creations online for a wider audience. But does that violate copyright law?

It might, and many students fail to understand the legal risks. A new study, titled “Copying Right and Copying Wrong With Web 2.0 Tools in the Teacher Education and Communications Classrooms,” attempts to educate students about both the appropriate and inappropriate ways to use copyright…

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Dispute Over File Sharing’s Harm to Music Sales Plays Again

Last week in Vienna, where Beethoven, Haydn, and Mahler once walked, scholars came together to argue about Radiohead, file sharing, and the economics of music.

At a conference known as Vienna Music Business Research Days, two American economists renewed their long-running dispute about whether or not peer-to-peer file sharing is responsible for the worldwide decline in CD sales.

The quarrel centers on a widely cited paper by Felix Oberholzer-Gee, a professor at the Harvard Business School, and K…

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Canadian Education Groups Seek Changes in Newly Proposed Copyright Law

Some professors and students in Canada are grumbling about a new copyright-reform bill that was introduced there Wednesday, saying that it would lead to new restrictions on the use of media in classrooms, distance learning, and libraries.

The proposed law is designed to make it easier to go after commercial pirates while allowing individuals to copy legally obtained content from one device to another and to make backup copies. But critics say the bill’s protection of so-called digital locks—enc…

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British Universities Object to Having to Monitor Open Wireless Networks

Universities in Britain are alarmed about proposed legislation that could require institutions offering open wireless networks to monitor users to ensure that they comply with online copyright provisions, the BBC reports.

The Digital Economy Bill, which is making its way through the British Parliament, “imposes obligations on Internet service providers to reduce online copyright infringement,” a bill summary says. The new measures could result in large fines and network slowdowns or disconnectio…