Fined: University gives student a megabyte

first_imgThis is not the first time a student has caught red-handed downloading material from internet. Earlier this term a Balliol graduate student was also fined for downloading a pirate film via a VPN connection. He was forced to pay £120 after OUCS received legal papers from a copyright company concerning the illegal download of the film. One third year from Brasenose said, “Whatever people say, illegal downloading is not the same as shoplifting. With facilities such as Spotify we’ve all grown used not to having to pay for our music, and I’m sure most cash-strapped students have few qualms about illegally downloading films and music. “But [these fines] would definitely make me think twice, especially about doing it on the college network where it can so easily be detected.”Oxford’s ICTC Regulations state that “Users are not permitted to use university IT or network facilities for…the creation or transmission of or access to material in such a way as to infringe a copyright, moral right, trade mark, or other intellectual property right.”Asked whether he thought the system of multiple fines for people on the VPN system was unfair, a spokesman from OUCS said, “It’s fair that the rules apply whenever people are using University facilities. “It wouldn’t matter whether they were in their college or in an internet café in Siberia – they would still be breaking the rules. The rules apply to how people use the facilities, not where they use them from.”A spokesman from the Oxford Press Office could not comment on individual disciplinary cases, but added that the University “stresses that students should not break the law.” Copyrighted materials such as films are protected by the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, under which those who download and distribute copyrighted recordings without permission can face civil action. OUCS report that over the past two years, the number of security incidents handled has more than doubled to almost 1,300. A St Hugh’s student has been fined by their college for illegally downloading a film while in his own home in Lincolnshire during the summer holidays. Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS) alerted the student of their ‘copy-right infringement’ after the student downloaded a pirated copy of the movie Iron Man II via the student’s VPN connection. The student incurred vast fines, despite the fact he was not on University premises and that he was connected to the internet via a private home connection. The student racked up a grand total of £108.75 in fines as a result of the incident. This included an administrative charge of £50 that was issued to the College by OUCS.As part of the fine the College added £8.75 to the bill, claiming it was VAT. This has since been withdrawn. Upon receiving the fine, the student commented, “I think it’s an outrage that I was fined while not even on college grounds.“How can it be right that the rules of the University extend to your own home? It’s like 1984. “£108.75 is awfully expensive for a film I didn’t even want to watch. It basically cost about £1 per minute to watch Iron Man II. I just didn’t think it would cause me this much trouble.” The student’s computer account was also deactivated, and his computer had to be submitted for inspection before it was reconnected to the Oxford network. But another 3rd year student at St Hugh’s who wishes to remain anonymous described the action of the University as “ridiculous”. He said, “I’ve been downloading torrent files from sites such as ISO Hunt while at university for years and they’ve never lifted a finger. It’s ridiculous how someone can then be fined while not even being on University premises or connected into the college network.” last_img

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