The University of San Francisco: Information Technology Services
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Information Technology Services

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ITS eNewsletter - February 2012

Lynda.com brings students unlimited access to online training library

The Center for Instruction and Technology (CIT) now offers all students unlimited free access to over 1,190 online courses and 69,000 high-quality tutorials from the Lynda.com Online Training Library.

Do you want a certificate in highly marketable technology training? You can get one from Lynda.com, where videos range from one-time tutorials to full courses. It’s all self-paced, so you can learn whatever interests you anytime and anywhere, taking as much time as you need.

Log in to USFconnect and click on the Learning Technologies tab. The Lynda.com icon is on the left side of the screen. Click on it to browse Lynda.com.

Need more information? E-mail any questions to the CIT at cit@usfca.edu

Students needed for Focus Groups

ITS needs your input to improve its services! This year we are conducting focus groups, which means that if you participate, YOUR opinions will be used directly for service improvement, expansion, and to strengthen communication with the student community. Sessions last up to 90 minutes -- sign up now and get free food, beverages and a USB drive!

Explore the ITS Service Portfolio

Discover all the services that ITS offers with the Service Portfolio. Browse by category to find what you need -- we offer technology training, virus protection, computer lab locations and hours, tons of discounts on hardware and software, and more!

Sharing free music isn't worth the price

Have you ever shared files or downloaded music or movies for free? Yeah, me too. Because, like most sane human beings, we'd rather not pay for stuff.

Unfortunately, it's illegal. Digital file sharing used to be overlooked, with thousands of people using programs like Napster to share music. But in 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which, although it sounds like something from a cheesy sci fi movie, is actually really serious. It started with the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The RIAA in particular has suffered from declining sales because of people like you and me who don't want to fork over 69 cents - $1.29 per song on iTunes, buy monthly subscriptions for unlimited downloads, or pay for a bunch of packaging for a plastic CD. That may seem like overpaying, but going with file sharing can turn out much worse...if you are caught, you will be fined $750 per song. Or, you know, you could end up in prison for 5 years and pay up to $250,000 if you lose in court.

1. ITS receives a formal complaint that someone at a particular IP address is sharing licensed content. They track the IP address and find out who you are. Since you have already signed an Acceptable Use Policy network agreement, USF will be targeted by the RIAA and anyone else you steal from if you steal from them on the school's network. That means USF is legally obligated to go after you. Sorry, but it's not their fault.

2. They send you an e-mail. You have 72 hours to reply and go to the Help Desk. Ideally, your network access will be restored and everything will go back to unicorns and rainbows.

3. If you decide to taunt karma by using BitTorrent, etc., again, karma will send you a cosmic punch in the face in the form of another e-mail from ITS, you'll be cut off from the Internet again, and then OSCRR becomes involved. OSCRR is the Office of Student Conduct, Rights, and Responsibilities. I'm sure that all the people who work there are really nice, but I don't know because I don't plan to ever meet them, and I hope for your sake that you don't either.

4. Well, I really shouldn't have to write this step, but just in case you haven't guessed already, it's the one where you lose the lawsuit and have to pay a lot of money.

So, overall, I'd rather pay about 99 cents per song than $750, and I'm guessing that you probably would too. You might be tempted to work around this issue by sharing CDs.  But it's really old  school and also illegal to load borrowed CDs into iTunes. For simple music streaming, you can use Rdio, Spotify, Rhapsody, or others. Most of these work as subscription-based services with downloadable apps compatible with most phones and mp3 players. For a flat monthly fee, you can browse extensive music libraries, listen on your computer, and download to a portable device so you can listen when you are not on the web.

Sometimes file sharers will be targeted by the artists themselves: for example, according to an article in WIRED magazine, Sylvester Stallone decided to file a lawsuit against all 23,000 people who had illegally downloaded his 2010 movie The Expendables in the biggest BitTorrent case in US History. Also, world-famous metal band Metallica sued Napster, Yale, USC, and Indiana University over illegal distribution of music, with the band's lawyers estimating damages at roughly $10 million (article on news.CNET.com).

Reported in the New York Times on 20 January 2011, Megaupload landed in a lawsuit of international scale for copyright infringement, and seven people involved have already been charged with Internet piracy by the FBI. So all in all, the amount of money you'll lose if you get caught will far outweigh the money you save by downloading songs for free.

Here is a link to the breakdown of the DMCA law. And click here for the ITS copyright policies page. Click the "Filesharing Myths" picture to be redirected to some common misconceptions about file sharing.

For more information, you can also check out the Gleeson Library Copyright Guide, and there is also a section on file sharing in the Fogcutter student handbook.

- Alexandra-Nicole Durak

 

Message from the CIO

Steve GallagherITS is pleased to introduce this newsletter highlighting topics of particular interest to USF's students. Additional information about ITS services can also always be found on the ITS web site, on our blog, or by following our Twitter feeds.

Please know that we take your feedback very seriously. In response to the 2011 ITS Annual Survey feedback, I am particularly happy to announce several new service agreements, including campus-wide access to the Lynda.com online training repository (see newsletter story at left).

A recent agreement with IBM will also allow us to provide browser-based access to the SPSS statistical software in fall 2012. I also hope you’ll continue exploring the technology deals offered at estore.usfca.edu.

You may have recently received an invitation to attend an ITS focus group. These focus groups are small facilitated gatherings during which we seek your input on desired new service offerings or ways ITS may improve services currently provided. We’ll share the results of the focus groups in the next newsletter.

The ITS Division wishes you a successful spring semester.

- Steve Gallagher
CIO and Vice President of ITS

How ITS Communicates with the university community

ITS is now sending fewer e-mails -- we use Twitter for service announcements, security updates, and messages from our Vice President and the Director of Client Support Services.

For news about the ITS division longer than a Twitter feed, we have a blog, including features about helpful security and departmental information and service highlights.

The ITS website is organized around a Service Portfolio, which works as a guide to everything we offer: the Student Computing Guide, CIT Training Calendar, Computer Replacement policies, Faculty Tech Reference Guide, and much more.

Follow us on Twitter

Accouncements & Service Updates
@USF_ITS

Security Alerts
@USFInfoSec

Vice President, Information Technology
@USFCIO

Directory, Client Support Services
@ITSHELPDIRECTOR

Follow our Blog
blogs.usfca.edu/its

Visit our Website
www.usfca.edu/its

 


Gilbert Lee