Students by day, pirates by night

Living on campus provides students with convenient access to most of what they need, from food to entertainment to coffee, but it doesn’t usually accommodate their needs to see the latest blockbuster film release or listen to the hot new 12-track album before it goes on sale.

Taking advantage of the free Internet access on campus, many students have found a way around this by sharing files on and other piracy websites.

Although UH supports the Software & Information Industry Association and the Business Software Alliance’s efforts to reduce software piracy, the campus was recently ranked by as the third most active university on BitTorrent with 795 hits this year, coming in just behind New York University at 986 and Rutgers University at 1809.

According to, a website that tracks torrent downloads from specific IP addresses, the most-shared files from UH’s campus are the ninth episode of TV drama “Once Upon a Time” and Aziz Ansari’s hour stand-up special “Dangerously Delicious.”

Completing the top five schools active in Internet piracy are University of South Carolina and Texas A&M University, closely following UH with 776 and 768 hits, respectively.

Although all of these instances of file-sharing might not be illegal — there are free files on BitTorrent that are legal to download — the situation is being monitored heavily by websites like TorrentFreak and ScanEye in compliance with a 2010 government mandate requiring all colleges to put a stop to illicit file-sharing on their networks.

This requirement expands on the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act which demands university administrators inform their students about copyright laws, implement a plan to effectively combat illegal distribution of copyrighted files and offer an alternative to this sort of file-sharing.

Because of the new legislation, schools actively participating in the defiance of this mandate are at risk of losing federal funding, but students see perks in the quick access to files and continue finding ways around the University’s policies.

“(Certain files) are meant to be distributed. There are supposed to be things that are easy to find and distribute,” said chemical engineering junior Camden Kirkland.

“On the other hand, you do have the copyrighted works and you become a detriment to the people who put in hard work and want to be monetarily compensated for that work.”

[email protected]


  • @ Amanda Hilow: When you say: “Taking advantage of the free Internet access on campus, many students — and staff and faculty (…)” How do you know for sure that each one of those groups is for sure involved? Careful to implicate based only on assumptions…

Leave a Comment