The End of File Sharing at Florida

By Deane Barker on October 3, 2003

Florida Dorms Lock Out P2P Users: The University of Florida had a file sharing problem:

“Last spring, the university received about 40 notices of copyright violations per month. At peak file-trading periods, 90 percent of the traffic on the housing network was peer-to-peer. In an average 24-hour period, 3,500 of the 7,500 students in the residence halls would use P2P services like Kazaa.”

They now have a solution, called Icarus.

“If a student is on the network and tries to share files, Icarus automatically sends an e-mail and an immediate pop-up warning and disconnects the student from the network. The first violation disables network access for 30 minutes; the second cuts off access for five days. Third-time offenders are subject to the school’s judicial process, and their network access is cut off indefinitely.”

It’s working.

“‘Icarus has detected about 300 people using P2P this fall,’ [Robert Bird, supervisor of network services] said. ‘That’s an over 90 percent drop in people using P2P. That’s a dramatic reduction in user behavior.’”

Now, some people may get all uppity about this, claiming censorship and all that, but I say more power to the university. File trading isn’t just about copyrights — it’s about bandwidth too. And bandwidth on that scale is expensive. It’s the school’s bandwidth, and congratulations to them for finding a good way of saving it.