Other campuses: New program lets users share files through iTunes

By Oregon Daily Emerald

(U-WIRE) EUGENE, Ore. – The popular music player iTunes has become the target of a new generation of file sharing programs, leaving music vulnerable to sharing without the owner’s knowledge. iTunes files are normally available to others through a network, such as the University of Oregon, for “streaming.” When a user opens the program, he or she is able to view other user’s playlists and listen to their music files. Until now, there has been no way to import these files – a process known as filesharing – or to save them to your computer.

A new program called “getTunes” makes these previously protected files free for the taking, whether you want them to be or not.

The program, which only runs on the Mac operating system, allows users to import songs shared by other iTunes users.

The program is available on freeware sites such as VersionTracker and opens automatically whenever iTunes is opened. The program does not alert the owner of the intrusion.

Senior Katherine Sammler said she doesn’t have a problem with sharing her music, even if she isn’t aware of it.

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    “It’s not my music,” Sammler said. “It’s not their music. It’s the artist’s.”

    She admits using filesharing programs such as LimeWire to download music and said she isn’t concerned about being caught.

    Filesharing is common on the University’s network, Acceptable Use Policy Officer Jon Miyake said. He said there was a crackdown on filesharing in the residence halls one year ago that served primarily to free up bandwidth being used largely by file-sharing students.

    “Incoming freshmen are the worst offenders,” he said. “They don’t know any different.”

    He added that most users don’t understand the technology they are using and how easy it is to get caught.

    “Just as easy as it is to copy a file, it is as easy for the enforcement agencies to find you,” Miyake said.

    The Acceptable Use Policy states, “The University of Oregon respects copyright laws and insists that its faculty, students, and staff do likewise. Copying proprietary software is theft, and will not be tolerated on campus.”

    – Sheldon Traver

    Microservices consultant Michael Buckley said there is no way for outside enforcers to track on-campus filesharing with programs like getTunes. Because the University network is a closed system, it is up to on-campus network security to locate and punish individuals, he said.

    – Sheldon Traver

    Sophomore Ryan “Bo” Stell said he has been downloading music for eight years. He still spends a lot of his money on compact discs, but he said he has limits.

    “I won’t buy a CD with just one good song,” Stell said. “There’s a lot worse stuff in the world than sharing files.”

    Buckley said users of iTunes can protect themselves simply by changing their settings. In iTunes preferences, click the sharing tab and uncheck the box that says “share my tunes.”

    Miyake said regardless of the program used, downloaders should be aware of the consequences.

    “(Enforcement agencies) are actively out there waiting to make an example out of others,” he said.