Surf's up: file sharing on uni networks

Institutions are learning how to regulate the use of their networks

A survey by the Oxford Internet Institute in 2007 found that students are the “most active users of online entertainment and social networking sites”. The social aspect of the internet becomes even more important at university when keeping in contact and up to date with your mates across the country and on campus.

The face of learning is also changing at universities across the UK. Just as the internet and its applications – such as e-mail, online shopping and social networking – have changed our lives, so too has it influenced the way students learn and access information.

The range of content available to students is increasing. Online Public Access Catalogues (Opacs) for course information, examination details, university and college timetables and even the content of some text books, are published online.

The dilemma of file sharing

The majority of UK universities offer internet access for students and most have wi-fi access on campus or in halls. However, unlike private internet access in your own home, university facilities differ in what they allow to be used on their networks. Peer-topeer (p2p) software, where users share files – sometimes illegally – across a network, is often restricted, although university authorities do admit that this is increasingly difficult to regulate.

Marcus Liassides, chief executive of Inuk Networks, who supply a service called Freewire TV to approximately 120,000 students in 40 halls of residence in the UK, says:“Illegal file-sharing enabled universities to take a fairly hard line, but now legitimate services such as iPlayer and 4oD are using similar p2p delivery mechanisms the issue has become more clouded.

“Different universities run different policies and apply different network management rules to the way they deal with file-sharing and p2p software, largely dependent on the health of their network and their position on net neutrality.” Although no UK universities have been prosecuted over copyright infringements, EMI, Sony and Universal did start proceedings in 2003 against universities in Australia.

Craig Hickson, head of the Business Support Centre at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) says: “Where a service will cause us bandwidth problems or is clearly illegal, they [students] need to be restricted.

This is particularly true for gaming, TV streaming and other video services. If we did not do so, the volume of traffic would begin to impede the activities of other areas of the university.”

UK universities have strict access policies and are constantly monitoring content, both externally and internally. Some universities impose fines on students that are caught withfile-sharing software; at the very least it will have to be uninstalled and students will have to explain their actions to university authorities.

“Stick to the legal sites, and if you are in any doubt about what is legal, ask,” Hickson adds. ”The film and music industry are working on new tactics to stem the circulation of illegal copies of their material and are targeting a number of users to warn or prosecute as an example.”

When accepted at an institution, students are provided with a university-based e-mail address and password access to university networks. These offer comprehensive information and support on university life. You should be able to find help via these networks before you arrive for your first classes; in fact, you can even share it with your course mates.

Web watch

British Phonographic Industry

Advice on what illegal file-sharing is and where to find legal music downloads www.bpi.co.uk

Federation Against Software Theft

Definitions and clarifications about software theft www.fast.org.uk

Oxfam Music

Download legally and donate to charity at the same time www.bignoisemusic.com

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Science Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Key stage 3 and 4 Teacher requi...

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence