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Students lose Internet access for file sharing

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

By The Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE -- Penn State deprived 220 students of high-speed Internet connections in their dorms after it found they were sharing copyrighted material, the university said yesterday.

"Basically, we received a complaint," said Penn State spokesman Tysen Kendig, who said he could not reveal who registered the complaint.

"Upon investigation, we found that the students had publicly listed copyright-infringing materials on their systems to other members of this network," he added.

Music and movie industry groups have urged universities to curb the sharing of copyrighted files and to penalize violators.

Students, who often have fast Internet connections and little cash, are seen as the vanguard in a wave of downloading that the entertainment industry claims is cutting into its profits.

"I was kind of surprised at being caught," Jason Steiner, a freshman in aerospace engineering, told The Daily Collegian, Penn State's student newspaper. "I was sitting there online, and all of a sudden I wasn't, with no idea why."

The sanctioned students all live in campus residence halls. They can still access their campus accounts from other computers.

The connections to their dorm rooms will be restored once the copyrighted materials have been removed, Kendig said.

On March 31, Penn State's executive vice president and provost, Rodney Erickson, sent an e-mail to more than 110,000 students, administrators, faculty and staff reminding them that the university prohibits sharing copyrighted material and warning that such sharing is against the law.

Earlier this month, 85 students at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., were disciplined for using the school's network to trade copyrighted music and movies.

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