This post is copyrighted. If you read this on a KU network, or any other copyrighted material, you just forfeited your network access. At least, that’s how I read the new policy the University of Kansas announced:
A brief notice on the University of Kansas ResNet site explains the university’s new position very succinctly. “If you are caught downloading copyrighted material, you will lose your ResNet privileges forever,” reads the notice. “No second notices, no excuses, no refunds. One violation and your ResNet internet access is gone for as long as you reside on campus.”
The thing is, though, you have permission to download this copyrighted material. I want you to download it. I’ve attached a Creative Commons license to encourage you and others to read it, quote it, copy it, and mash it up in interesting ways, within limits (noncommercial use, give me credit, etc.).
Ah, you say, they must have meant anyone caught downloading copyrighted material using peer to peer tools. Perhaps, except that there are musicians and filmmakers who encourage their work to be distributed via P2P, just as I encourage you to download material on this blog.
What they really mean is that anyone accused of downloading allegedly copyrighted music or movies without the permission of the RIAA or MPAA will instantly and eternally lose internet access on campus. There’s no chance to point out that the artist has given permission, or that there are valid reasons to use P2P to distribute copyrighted material like Linux distributions. It isn’t a “one-strike policy,” it’s a one-pitch policy. Ball, strike, foul tip – it doesn’t matter. No checking the third base umpire to see whether you broke the wrist. And by assumption, there are no hits.