A site dedicated to news about peer-to-peer file sharing recently ranked the University of Utah in the top 50 schools for online piracy using the file-sharing program Bit Torrent. In 2010, the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act went into effect that would jeopardize federal funding to universities that did not actively seek to stop illegal file sharing on campus. Two years later, and college file pirates have been fought back but not eliminated entirely, according to an informal study done by TorrentFreak, an online news site that monitors tech news surrounding peer-to-peer file sharing.
Over the past year, they acquired a list of most-active universities using BitTorrent, the popular file sharing program. By monitoring IP addresses listed on thousands of shared files, the survey was able to link hits back to universities.
The University of Utah on their list ranked 45th with 311 hits during that time period. A small number in comparison to number 1 on the list, Rutgers University, which had 1,809 hits.
You can see Torrent Freak’s top rankings list here. But to be fair, there are some limitations to the site’s survey of would-be campus file pirates. Not all files were shared without permission from copyright holders, the survey doesn’t look at other file-sharing platforms and naturally doesn’t track students who do their file plundering off campus. In response, a U spokesman points out that the school releases an annual memo about its policies against file sharing, which includes possibly losing “long-term access to network service” and allowing the feds to do this (not really).
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