Student digital piracy in the Florida State University System: An exploratory study on its infrastructural effects
Jeffrey Reiss, University of Central Florida, United States
University of Central Florida . Awarded
Digital piracy is a problem that may never disappear from society. Through readily available resources such as those found in a university, students will always have access to illegal goods. While piracy is a global phenomenon, an institution’s resources combined with the typical college student’s lack of funds makes it more lucrative. Students use a number of methods to justify their actions ranging from previewing media to bringing justice to a corrupt company. While trying to understand the mindset of pirates is one route to deal with piracy, corporations attempted to alleviate the situation using added software encoding. These messages are not always effective, and in some cases caused further damage to consumer morale. Furthermore, students such as Joel Tenenbaum, who continued to pirate music despite warnings from his parents and the recording industry, exemplify the type of person that is unfazed by legal threats, leading to a question of ethics. Students may not feel that downloading is stealing despite numerous warnings from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other major media organizations. The predominant solution used by universities involves monitoring the students’ network connection to detect Peer-to-Peer (P2P) connections or other connections that involve the transferring of copyrighted goods. Unfortunately, the current tools contain flaws that a crafty student may easily circumvent, undermining any attempts a university’s IT department may use to deter piracy.
This study explored the nature of piracy prevention tools used by IT departments in the Florida State University System in order to determine their relative effectiveness. The study also looked into the opinions of the Information Security Officer in terms of alternative piracy prevention techniques that do not involve legal action and monitoring. It was found that most institutions do not use a formal piece of software that monitors for infringing data. They also stated that while their current techniques can do its required task, it was not perfected to a point where it could run autonomously. Furthermore, institutions agreed that students lack proper ethics and concern over the matter of copyright, but were not fully convinced that other preventions methods would be effective. The study ultimately considered monitoring techniques a short-term solution and that more research should be put into finding long-term solutions. It also implied that IT departments should be better funded in order to keep up with the technological gap.
Reiss, J. Student digital piracy in the Florida State University System: An exploratory study on its infrastructural effects. Ph.D. thesis, University of Central Florida.
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