U. among top schools for illegal downloads

U. among top schools for illegal downloads



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SALT LAKE CITY — Even though it's against the law and student conduct codes, the University of Utah ranks 45th out of 50 on an internet piracy list for file sharing through a program designed for better intentions.

According to the website TorrentFreak, the U. is relatively high on the list for downloading movies, TV and music illegally.

The University says it's trying to quash the practice, but "With new technologies and so many people having access from different portals, sometimes it's hard to control that," said university spokesperson Keith Sterling.

He says students can face punishments up to expulsion, if they're caught. But file sharing sites have legitimate purposes.

"We need to balance access for folks so that they have access to information sites and things that they need," Sterling said.

Rutgers in New Jersey topped the list. Movie shares included Cars 2 and Puss in Boots.

The U. is always trying to catch those who constantly beat the system.

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"The IT department has taken a closer look at the policy now to see where strengths and weaknesses might be, and if it needs to be revamped at all. And there is monitoring that goes on," he said.

Sterling says enforcement is tricky, especially with many students who use file-sharing services legally and correctly. Schools also stand to lose federal funding based on a 2010 law.

"There is monitoring on an occasional basis, tracking to see where folks are going and what they're doing. It's not a perfect system, but we do have a system in place, and we understand the seriousness of this issue," Sterling said.

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Peter Samore

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