The Risk of Music File Sharing

PSU received 330 copyright violation notifications from the Recording Industry last year. When you share the music on your computer with others, you are putting yourself at risk. You may lose network privileges for your computer and, potentially, be targeted for civil litigation. Thousands of higher ed students have been hit with pre-settlement fines.The more they find you sharing, the greater the fines.

If the RIAA contacts PSU, they identify specific copyrighted song files they find being shared on our networks. They provide the internet address, which is tied to the computer, which is owned by a specific student. Those notices are relayed to the student, who is then required to take the following actions:

  1. Acknowledge that they have removed the copyrighted material from future sharing
  2. Take and pass an online program and quiz on copyright within two days. If there is no response, network access for their computer is revoked until they follow through.

Unfortunately, not everyone learns on the first go-round. More than 25 of the students pegged last year received a second notice. And 6 of those received 3 notices. Here are the consequences for them:

Second RIAA notices evoke the same process as above, only your computer will be prevented from PSU network access for two weeks.
Students who receive three or more notices will lose network privileges for a month.
If you think that's harsh, try talking to students who have paid penalties to RIAA in pre-litigation settlement fees. That'll boost the cost of your education rather quickly.

Don't let it happen to you. Don't share your music files! (see Music Galore, RIAA Means Business, Students paying big bucks in penalties for sharing music files and Share the Music)

There are plenty of options for legitimate online music. ITS has created a new channel in myPlymouth under the Campus Life tab. Check it out!

Technology Update, January 2008

Technology Update
January 2008

Happy Winterim all, this is the semesterly update from ITS. Some of these items are repeats from the fall update, but they’re worth a second look.

Computers, information and accountability:

Where can I get computer help? Walk, run, call or e- yourself to the Learning Commons in Lamson Library. If they can’t help you right away, they know who in ITS to call.

535-2929 ?

What are my rights to privacy using PSU email? The email system, PSU-issued computers and the network all belong to the University. Within that framework you have a high degree of academic and personal freedom. No one tracks your surfing or email. You do, however, leave tracks everywhere you go. And since 9/11, there have been numerous changes in laws that have reduced the degree of privacy. Still, privacy and personal responsibility remain core PSU values. Please read the PSU Acceptable Use Policy. We are all accountable to it.

Where do I go for help using technology in the classroom? Multimedia support is available through the Learning Commons and/or by seeking Equipment Reservations in myPlymouth (left column, see Services). The Learning Commons is available 7 days a week for your support in any number of ways. Stop in, call 2929 or email them at John Martin leads the support team for the classroom, so feel free to drop him a line directly, too.

What do I need to know about computer security? Be skeptical, be cautious, be smart. There are new schemes, alluring pitches and deals too-good-to-be-true every week. Amy Berg, our new Director of IT Operations and Chief Security Officer, has some tips.

Are there times during the week when systems may be unavailable? We plan most of our major upgrades during semester breaks. However, many of the systems need minor updates and tweaks throughout of the year. We strive to minimize those times. Most planned work occurs early on Sunday mornings between 6-10am when traffic and system usage is at a low ebb. If it’s just a few minutes, we hope you’ll understand. If systems are going to be down for extended time (more than a half an hour) we’ll send word out via and myPlymouth. We don’t use every Sunday morning, but when we do, that’s our maintenance window. Thanks for understanding.

What is the best way to look up students, faculty and staff? PSU publishes a student and faculty/staff directory each year in October. You should all have one by now. You can also dial 3333 on any campus extension (or 535-3333 from a cell or other phone) and speak an employee’s name. And, if you want the best directory for PSU students, get yourself a FaceBook account and look them up there. In addition to finding out how to locate them, you can find all sorts of interesting factoids and pictures about them. 😉

Where do I get information? For a complete listing of news, campus announcements, Plymouth Week, events, Plymouth Magazine and more, see the myNews tab in myPlymouth.

What if I want campus updates delivered to my email? Public Relations launched a new listserv called This is an OPT IN service, meaning it will only be delivered to your email if you request it. To receive PSU FYI emails, sign up at

How does PSU communicate in case of emergencies? PSU has partnered with e2Campus, an online service that students and employees opt into. Those who register will receive urgent or emergency communications as text messages to their cell phones and/or their preferred email address. There is also an option to receive text message alerts in case of school closings and river flooding. PSU encourages everyone who uses a cell phone to register now. Visit the e2Campus site and follow instructions. This service will be used judiciously and for an occasional test, but in the event of an emergency, this is the quickest way to receive broadcast alerts. Emergency information will continue to be posted to email and the PSU web pages.

Which Windows operating system is supported? PSU rolled out Windows Vista on computer labs and many new computers. Students are bringing new computers with Vista to campus. We will continue to support Windows XP, too, for quite a while yet. Support for the Commodore 64, however, has been retired.

May I bring my own laptop to the PSU network? Yes. Like students, PSU employees may log on to the PSU wireless network with an appropriate username and password. They may also plug in to network ports in the library. Your computer needs to be current with Windows security updates and have MacAfee Anti-virus software installed. Personal computers cannot, however, plug in to office ports unless their computers have loaded several more PSU network and security components. This is designed for security and network protection.

How do I get my new iTouch (or Smartphone, or iPhone, or whateverPhone) connected to the PSU network? Take the unit to the Learning Commons in Lamson and smile nicely. They’ll take care of you.

How do I get software loaded onto the computer clusters? Faculty and instructors receive notice every April and December alerting them to submit requests for software to be installed on our network and in computer labs. Because there are so many software applications already loaded, new requests have to be tested for compatibility. If it passes muster, the new software is loaded and made available the following semester.

What technologies should we be paying attention to? Think about trends more than specific technologies. More and more software is made available as web applications. Email is a good example. Microsoft Outlook, an application that resides on your computer, used to reign. Now our email, calendar and documents can all be on the web. This practice is far more prevalent with students arriving at our doors. There is, however, a trade-off in your control and local storage. You're good as long as you’re connected. (Good if you live around Internet connections, not so good if you live in the sticks.) Google Mail is a good example. With Google Mail (a.k.a. Gmail) you do not need your own computer to access your email, only an Internet connection and web browser. Of course, this means change in how we work and organize our files. More of our vendors are going in this direction (see, Banner self service). You can check it out with our new myMail system. If you're already configured to get your email in Outlook, it will work the same. You can also work on the web with the web version of our mail called myMail. This allows your work to follow you wherever you have an Internet browser.

What’s the latest on PSU students and music file sharing? ITS and Res Life have been pressing the issue all semester…do not share copyrighted materials on the PSU network. We’ve warned students of the dangers and let them know if they’re fingered, it’s between to them and the RIAA. PSU received more than 300 notices of copyright infringement associated with specific computers on our network. Those notices are forwarded to the students associated with the computer. First violations result in their need to complete an online tutorial within two days. Failure to do so will result in loss of network privileges for their computer. Subsequent offenses result in longer periods. If students come complaining to you that they can’t get their work done because ITS shut their computer off from the network, help them understand that it is a direct result of their own risky behavior. And it is no excuse, only an inconvenience to them. They can use any other computers to get their work done. It might also be a good opportunity to discuss copyright and ethics, too.

How are decisions about technology made at PSU? The Technology Advisory Committee (TAG, see myPlymouth Groups for documents and agendas the past several years) meets monthly during the academic year. Made up of faculty and staff (and occasionally students), TAG tackles a variety of technology issues that impact students and faculty. It also creates ad hoc groups and reviews policy recommendations. TAG is led by the senior technology officers: The CIO, Dwight Fischer, and the Director of the Library, David Beronä. TAG recommendations on major PSU decisions flow up to the President's Cabinet. In addition to TAG, there is an Executive Steering Committee for Information Systems (ESC). The ESC includes vice presidents, TAG leaders, Graduate Studies and others as needed. ESC has purview over all aspects of information systems, project priorities, data and network security, major system upgrades or replacements, and regulatory compliance.

Where can I ask other questions about computing and technology? Here, drop me a note. If I can answer, I will. If not, I'll find you someone who can.

Best of luck in the new semester. We're here to help.

Dwight Fischer, CIO
Information Technology Services

ext. 2443


Other topics

· Changes in Communications, Changes in Habits

· Green Technology

· Music galore, and Legit!

· How do people respond to an increasingly rapid pace of technology change?

· Top Ten Things You Should Know About Technology at PSU

· myPlymouth Sings

· More…

7 Thinks You Should Know About FaceBook?

E-Books in Higher Education: Nearing the End of the Era of Hype?

Google Earth User Guide

Thanks to YouTube, Professors are Finding New Audiences

Green Technology

cid_00f601c3db78567236b0370d140auoponljmbooker.gifComputers require a significant amount of electricity to operate on a university campus. In recent months, ITS has taken several steps in to reduce and manage that consumption.

With our recent upgrade of lab computers to Windows Vista, all lab computers are now set to power down after 90 minutes of inactivity. This occurs in a progressive sequence: First the monitors go off, then the hard drives go to sleep and then the whole computer hibernates. All these settings can be managed from a central console allowing ITS to further reduce consumption during campus break periods. As people become more familiar with waking them back up, those time sequences can be further reduced.

All new computers for PSU employees are pre-configured with optimal energy-saving settings.

One of the biggest consumers of energy is the data center where the system servers are housed. With upwards of 50 servers, and additional needs and services added every year, power consumption increases. Additionally, the need for air conditioning and backup power also swells. Now, when time to replace and upgrade servers, a new type of "virtual memory servers" are being used. Rather than the old method of one server per application, virtual memory servers play host to several applications, reducing overall electricity load.

You, too, can do your part. Take a look at the power settings in your Control Panels. Lower the monitor, hard drive and hibernation settings to the lowest level you can. If we all do that, our collective effort will generate considerable power savings.

And, at the end of your work day, turn off all your computers and peripheral equipment. Speakers, printers and all your e-doohickeys. Your smaller contributions will make a big difference if we all do our part.