Illegal downloading/uploading violations steady, can lead to account suspended or disabled

The use of pirating websites is restricted to students on campus.
Austin Chasse | The Scribe
Nov. 2, 2015

April Wefler
[email protected]

When season six of “Game of Thrones” starts in April 2016, students living on campus without HBO may be tempted to illegally download the episodes.

But downloading the episodes will come with consequences for the student.

“It’s not legal and it’s a violation of policy. If you persist in it, you can be expelled,” said Thomas Conley, information security officer.

Conley said the school doesn’t monitor or know what students are illegally downloading. Instead, the copyright owners monitor what is being downloaded and notify the school when they see students are illegally downloading or uploading.

The school then sends a notice to the student.

“We are getting notices, and we do forward them on,” Conley said.

He said the issue of illegal downloading and uploading has been steady on campus and that the university hasn’t had to take drastic measures yet.

Conley added that in the past, the problem laid more with songs being uploaded.

Now, it’s more of an issue with uploading movies.

“Illegally downloading stuff hurts the industry. A lot of shows and movies are suffering because people are watching online and they’re not getting the ratings they need,” said Loren Allison, junior visual arts major.

“That’s part of the reason why DreamWorks is suffering financially because people are downloading pirated copies,” Allison said.

If the school is notified of illegal downloading or uploading, the student gets a first notice. The notice tells the student to remove the downloaded media and file sharing software from their computer immediately and reminds the student of the downloading policies. The student is given five days to respond to the email.

“In the past, I’ve seen – not here at UCCS – but I’ve seen students be sued and they basically have to settle out of court and pay money. Here at the university, we kind of have a tiered approach,” Conley said.

“Our students are very good in that it usually takes just one notice.”

After the second violation, the university suspends the student’s account and the violations are forwarded to the vice chancellor for Student Success, Homer Wesley.

Additionally, the student is required to provide a written response to the dean of students, Steve Linhart and the IT director, Jerry Wilson, indicating they understand the legal risk and agreeing they will abide by the policies in the future.

A third notice disables the student’s account permanently unless restoration is permitted by the associate director in the Residence Life office for students who live on campus or the dean of students for those who live off-campus.

Conley said he hasn’t seen a third notice.

Accounts of staff members or faculty are reviewed by Human Resources.

Additionally, the school sends out an annual email to students and faculty reminding them of the policies and consequences.

Conley said he’s been at several universities and that students illegally downloading or uploading is a “normal kind of problem.”

“Students need to learn what they can and can’t do,” Conley said.

He also said the copyright owners tend to notice illegal uploading more than illegal downloading.

“When you’re doing something online, there are lots of logs and records being collected,” Conley said. “When you’re on the Internet, you have an address that’s visible, otherwise you couldn’t communicate with somebody.”

“If somebody else is running a peer to peer program, they see your address and you see theirs, so, they can monitor both the uploads and downloads from your machine.”