Final Project: Technology Policies at Yale – by “Paul R”

Despite the rising influence of intellectual property and other technology policies on students’ lives, the majority of students at Yale remain unaware of many of these important issues. To help solve this problem, our group has created a set of educational resources that would help Yale students better understand how complex university policies surrounding copyright, fair use, torrents, and other issues affect their lives.

Our website with the full set of information can be found at:

Below are short summaries of some of our findings, organized by topic:

Bittorrent at Yale

What happens if I’m caught torrenting copyrighted material @ Yale?

Under the 1998 DIgital Millennium Copyright Act, Yale is designated as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), thus is obligated to takedown or disable the infringing content on its network. Yale has a 3 strikes policy based on how many notices you’ve received …. (read more on bittorrent).

Example: A Yale DMCA Takedown Notice

The following is a sample DMCA takedown notification sent to Yale University and subsequently forwarded to the student and his/her respective dean and master.

DMCA Copyright Agent
Information Security Office
25 Science Park
Fax: 203.436.5342
April 19, 2010


Yale University has received a complaint from Warner Bros. regarding the distribution and/or availability of a title they believe to be their intellectual property being distributed on the Yale network (and the Internet). The complaint reports that the computer with IP address XXX.XX.XXX.XXXX (Internet Protocol network address) was and/or is unlawfully making available digitized copies of copyrighted materials. Our records show that this roaming IP address is presently registered to your NetID, or was used by your NetID at the time noted in the complaint. You therefore may be in violation of both Federal copyright law and the University’s Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy (ITAUP), section 1607.1.C.6, “Use in violation of law”” (read more on takedowns).

More topics including fair use at Yale, Gmail at Yale, internet privacy, and student perceptions of copyright after the jump!
Fair Use at Yale

“Fair use” amongst most college students mostly invokes conversation about its applications to music and videos. However, interesting enough, “fair use” at the university level may have its biggest effects and applications not to the students but to the professors.

Perusing around the web, trying to in investigate Yale’s policies regarding fair use, all i was ably to find were policies which explained fair use and how it applies in the classroom. Yale’s main concern is not about informing the students, but more about the professors.  The policies were outlined according to the “Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not-for-Profit Educational Institutions”, which was an unofficial guide for educational istitutions that outlined the minimum standards of fair use.  Although the guidelines are not backed by law, they are understood to be reasonable assumptions of the standards of fair use.

The most intersting thing about these guidelines was thier oddly specific criteria.  It outlines that for classroom distributed materials a copying is allowed if it accords to the following guidelines …. (read more on fair use).

Gmail at Yale
In February of 2010, the Yale Daily News broke the story that Yale would be switching its primary email servers to Gmail through Google’s Apps for Education. Shortly thereafter, however, the switch was delayed to get more input from the community, citing concerns over privacy and intellectual property. As of April, an ITS advisory committeehas been formed and they will deliver their opinion of the possible switch by the fall semester. Before that decision, however, there are many questions to be answered: What exactly are the privacy and intellectual property concerns in this switch? How much control will the university have over its information? And how will students be affected? (read more on Gmail).
Internet Privacy at Yale

In general, the University (InfoSec) does not actively monitor network use for content, nor do they review network flow content searching for peer-to-peer traffic. Copyright infringement is learned of solely through complaints from the copyright holders themselves, all of which are found through processes outside the University. To learn more about why this is the case and how the DMCA falls into play, check out the BitTorrent section of this blog.

To understand the circumstances in which your privacy may be compromised due to security concerns, it is important to first briefly mention what constitutes a violation of Yale’s user policies (read more on privacy).


Student Perceptions of Copyright
First, In order to most effectively direct instructional information towards the student body, I surveyed and interviewed a variety of students on their attitudes about copyright and the ethics of illegally copying copyrighted materials.

Plagiarism vs. Illegal Downloading
Plagiarism vs. Downloading

Second, I conducted and filmed a series of twelve individual interviews with a similarly diverse group of students.
1. How unethical is it to download copyrighted content without permission?

(see more survey results and interviews).


Group members:

Matthew Adams
Elie Chau
Kate Hawkins
Reynolds Holmes
Paul Ramirez

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