Copyright, Intellectual Property, Law Schools, Technology

Law School Network Becomes Just Latest Thing The Lannisters Ruined

Folks love Game of Thrones. Maybe it’s the intricate storytelling, the impeccable acting, the allure of high fantasy, or the fact that all the exposition is done by naked prostitutes. Whatever it is, the show is a hit and everyone clamors to watch it.

Unfortunately, lots of people want to watch it illegally. Even the New York Times is watching it illegally.

And when students use a school network to stream Game of Thrones, it can clog up the works and bottleneck the Internet faster than Walder Frey can lock down passage over the Trident…

This story comes to us from the streets of Detroit, and specifically the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. By the way, this is the school’s latest PR campaign:

“In the heart of Detroit. No better place to learn law.” True, because walking through the heart of Detroit is a Crim issue spotter.

And the library’s Internet is also a Copyrights issue spotter:

Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2013 1:49 PM
Subject: [Udmlawstudents] Wireless Internet Usage

There has been a significant increase in usage of our wireless Internet bandwidth since the beginning of the term. A major factor in this increase is due to downloading of video content. For example, on one recent day our Internet bandwidth was at 100% usage from approximately noon to 1:30pm. During that period, we were notified by a monitoring service that unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material (“Game of Thrones”) had taken place.

Unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material may expose students to potential civil and criminal penalties. Additionally, it consumes a disproportionate percentage of our network bandwidth allocation, which in turn negatively affects all of our users. As a common courtesy to your classmates, please endeavor to be considerate when sharing this academic resource.

You should not have any expectation of privacy when accessing the Internet through the School’s connection. Your on-line sessions can be monitored and tracked for purposes of policy enforcement. When using the School’s Internet connection it’s important that you give careful consideration to your usage to ensure that we avoid further issues.

Please contact me directly if you have any questions.


(Robert) Chris Congdon
Director of Information Technology
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
651 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, Michigan 48226-4386

I’m not advocating hogging bandwidth, and I’m certainly not advocating copyright violations, but this email is kind of lame. First of all, video requires a lot of bandwidth, but there’s no excuse for an educational institution getting frozen out of the Internet for an hour and a half. Go ahead and buy that extra bandwidth from Prodigy, or whatever outdated dial-up system you’re using.

Second, this isn’t the first time a school has threatened to drop a dime on students for downloading protected content.

But this threat is different, because rather than foregrounding the school’s strong support for intellectual property rights, it’s an implied threat that the school will track and rat out students downloading copyrighted works for exposing the bandwidth deficiency. As if the school would never have worried about the intellectual property breaches if it wasn’t inconveniencing the infrastructure.

So, students, don’t download illegal stuff on the UDM network. UDM, don’t get high and mighty about copyright law when you really just can’t be bothered to spring for a better data plan.

Even New York Times Is Oblivious To Fact That Sharing ‘HBO Go’ Passwords To Watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ Breaks Law [Forbes]

Earlier: Illinois Law Never Got the ‘No Snitching’ Memo; It May Rat Out Its Own Students About Illegal Downloads
Is Brooklyn Law School Informing On Its Own Students?

(hidden for your protection)

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