August 9, 2010
It's no secret that a significant number of Vassar students don't pay for the music, movies, or other files they download. In fact, this is so well known that in several articles this summer Vassar has become a poster school for illegal downloading and its consequences.
"That era — from 1996 (or so) to 2010 — might go down as the golden age downloading-minded geeky dorm-residents," writes a blogger for the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. The blogger names Vassar as one school where administrators have taken a stance against illegal downloading. Many Vassar students have had to meet with Dean Brown after getting caught illegally downloading music or other files on the Vassar network. As punishment, students usually have to complete some hours of work around campus. As the Law Blog post states, "Vassar College requires first-time offenders to perform 20 hours of 'sanctioned service' and pay a $25 fine." In a similar article, USA Today quotes Vassar's Jeff Kosmacher as saying, "Second-time offenders face double the service requirements, double the fines and loss of internet access."
Next semester, however, students may face even harsher punishments. A new Higher Education Opportunity Act went into effect in July, which according to the Law Blog, states that "colleges must either have installed software to block illegal file-sharing or have created some other procedure for preventing it." Students can now face up to $30,000 in fines for each illegally downloaded file.
Image via Gear Vault.