Michigan launches P2P alert system


Upload warning system not being considered by Penn




Do you know what you're uploading?

When Penn launched Ruckus at the beginning of last year, the University was aiming to stop students from illegally downloading.

But are students actually aware of the dangers of illegal uploading?

Not really, officials at the University of Michigan say.

To alert students to this threat, Michigan launched a new program, "Be Aware You're Uploading," which sends an e-mail to students when peer-to-peer files are being uploaded.

The e-mail is sent regardless of whether the student is aware of the uploading, defined as adding software to one computer by transferring it from another computer.

The system does not examine the content being uploaded, nor does the university keep the information it collects from BAYU for more than seven days. It is merely an alert system.

At Penn, while there are no plans of instituting a system similar to BAYU, some administrators are still unsure if students are fully aware of the risks of such file sharing.

"In our experience, some Penn students do not fully understand how to set up and manage P2P software," Associate Director for College House Computing Marilyn Spicer said. "We try to educate our students about the hazards of downloading when they come to us for assistance."

She added that College House Computing also tries to educate the Penn community through information sessions, posters and panels.

Vice President of Information Systems and Computing Robin Beck added, "We have no plans at this time to use BAYU but will continue to look at such options and the results of such tools."

According to a statement by Michigan Provost Teresa Sullivan, about 20 of their students this year have received notifications that the Recording Industry Association of America intends to pursue settlement for illegal "swapping of songs," even though "many students reported that they had not intended to upload."

BAYU was launched in response to this situation and its primary goal is to educate students about "unintentionally infringing copyright law."

At Penn, at least 48 students have received pre-litigation letters from the RIAA and over 3,000 letters have been sent to students at colleges across the U.S.

Meanwhile, Michigan knows that many schools will be watching the development of BAYU, as the school is one of the first to implement such a program.

"Penn follows development of vendor products and closely watches what other universities are doing," Beck said.

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