[unisog] Peer-to-Peer Software

Russell Fulton r.fulton at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Jun 8 00:27:37 GMT 2005

On Wed, 2005-06-08 at 08:48 +1000, Leigh Vincent wrote:
> Hi All,
> I am curious to find out what other places are doing about Peer-to-Peer
> software.  Here in Australia, Universities are facing a crackdown by the
> recording industry on downloads that are in breach of copyright etc. 
> and I would be interested to know how others handle this issue.

We in NZ have also been directly threatened with the same action taken
against various Australian institutions.

Our response has been to strictly monitor all file sharing activity
(note not all p2p is file sharing eg. skype) we mainly rely on snort for

When we find someone using p2p we send them an official letter drafted
by the university's lawyers that clearly spells out the university's
position on copyright violation (i.e. that *everyone* is forbidden to
use any university owned resource (including network bandwidth) to
breach the copyright of any third party). 

We also request that if they are using file sharing for some legitimate
purpose (eg. using BT to download OS software) that the user let us

This seems to be working well.  We have recently taken over internet
connectivity for several residences and are currently have a minor
battle with users as they keep switching to more and more obscure p2p
protocols.  The latest ploy is IRC channels that have bots that
advertise downloads, but snort catches them too.

We believe that the key thing is that we can get up in court(should the
need arise) and say that we have taken all reasonable measure to prevent
our resources being used for piracy.  We can point to education
campaigns, to monitoring and to numerous warnings and follow ups and (a
very few) disciplinary actions.

This was something that the 4 Australian universities could not do and
so they were left fighting the Anton Pillar orders with very little
backing.  So far they have spent several million dollars fighting regard
legal action.

[ Anton Pillar order is a court order allowing a plaintive (in this case
representative of the Australian music industry -- sadly lead by a
Kiwi :( ) access to documents (in this case server disks and backup
tapes) for the purpose of searching for evidence.  I.e seize documents
so you can mount a fishing expedition  ;)   ] 

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