Sure, we all know BitTorrent has its “dark sides”, but blocking all P2P transfers is clearly out of line.
There is no doubt that there are students who use P2P networks like BitTorrent to illegally obtain copyrighted work, but there are also thousands of students that use it to download content that is actually relevant to their academic careers. For example, some use it to download the latest version of the freely available “software for starving students” CD or Linux distribution, and for others it is even their primary research topic.
But apparently MU doesn’t care. Terry Robb, the IT spokesman at MU, said in a response: “When folks were caught violating (the DMCA), we were notified by the copyright authority. We would have to take action and ultimately block the violator’s network access. It takes a tremendous amount of staff time on our part to block students and educate them as well.”
I’m not sure how they plan to block p2p traffic, but encrypting BitTorrent traffic might circumvent it. It’s worth the try.
It seems that some Universities and schools are more eager to please the MPAA and RIAA, than to provide educational resources for their students. For example, last year a student at UALR Bowen School was kicked off campus because he tried to download a copy of Prof. Lessig’s book “Free Culture”. He was told that he had to uninstall any p2p software and promise never to use any before he could get access again.
Free culture? Not if it was up to MU and other Universities.