P2P legislation forcing university IT to get tough on piracy

Compliance with new P2P legislation proving costly for IT teams at the nation's colleges and universities

Survey respondents report the burden for P2P compliance is falling directly on campus IT personnel and is a huge drain on their time. "As high as two IT personnel are involved, which could mean a salary overhead of [US]$150,000 to 200,000," Green says.

The survey found that about 85% of academic institutions already inform their students about P2P piracy. Methods vary widely -- from simple posters on the wall to more in-depth online tutorials required at some places, such as Cornell University, to teach students rights and responsibilities before they use the college network, Green says.

The survey report states that "college students have been an understandably easy target for the music industry's anger about P2P file-sharing and by extension, declining CD sales."

On the technology front, about 25% of public universities already have installed technology to combat P2P piracy. Overall, the technology deployment at public and private 2-year and 4-year institutions ranges from about 22% to as high as 40%, according to the survey.

In some places, the money spent on P2P compliance already is topping half a million dollars in cash and personnel time. Still, surveys that CCP has done in the recent past indicate that many IT personnel don't believe that technology approaches are altogether effective in stopping P2P piracy.

"Technology managers on campus say P2P-killer software doesn't work," says Green, adding he's skeptical of the support for the tech-oriented approach advocated by some in Congress, including Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), chair of the House Science and Technology Committee, who has publicly said he views technology as the first line of defense.

Doug Camplejohn, CEO of Mi5 Networks, which contends its Webgate product is effective against P2P, acknowledges P2P file-sharing is not easy to combat. "P2P applications in general are the most evasive invented," he says. "P2P apps, as soon as they are blocked, jump to another protocol to get out." He notes that P2P apps often are used to disseminate such malware as botnets, and are best stopped on any network, not just colleges.

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