I is for Internet

Let’s face it; we would simply cease to exist without the Internet. Our schoolwork and social lives depend on gigabytes and Ethernet. That’s why the thought of most freshmen as they enter the dorms for the first time is “how do I get connected?” University Housing makes it easy: just agree to the usage policy, plug in and log on. I guess that’s where I went wrong. I hope you’re ready for a cautionary tale.

It all happened the first week after winter break had ended. I went into my dorm room after a day of class and found that my Internet was not working. In the absence of Facebook and Hulu, I naturally took a nap. I woke up a few hours later to discover that my roommate was having the same problem. It was at this point that I began thinking something was wrong.

I went down to my residence hall’s computer lab to check my inbox. Immediately the words “COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT” caught my eye in the subject line of one of the e-mails I had received. “Crap,” I thought to myself.

It turns out that the University had received an e-mail from a third-party company claiming to have tracked some unauthorized file sharing from my IP address. As a result, they had turned the Internet off in my room. I panicked. I researched the issue in hopes of comfort. I didn’t find any.

In the past, I always acted under the “well no one actually gets caught” way of thinking. I now realize how ignorant that really is. Cases of copyright infringement have all sorts of consequences ranging from warnings and mandatory removal of all questionable material to thousands of dollars of fines. I made an appointment with my Resident Director per the e-mail’s instructions and learned how lucky I am to have been contacted through the University. Due to the volume of pre-settlement letters the University receives, the University is left with dealing with these types of issues internally.

In the end, I made off with a housing reprimand, much less of a punishment than thousands of dollars in fines. If it happens again, which it won’t, my Internet will be shut off until the end of the school year.

Needless to say, I have deleted any kind of file sharing software from my computer and have been sufficiently scared into making all of my purchases through iTunes. So, let me serve as an example.

People do get caught file sharing.

Danny Weilandt is a freshman in Business.