After almost a year of unchallenged operation, a DC++ filesharing hub running within the virtual walls of the University of Nottingham's internal residential network has been scared into closure by the owners of said network.
Several students reported receiving Cease and Desist notices under their doors this morning. Some others were reportedly visited by burly men in black coats accompanied by their Hall Managers, delivering the documents personally. The notice gives each person 24 hours to, well, cease and desist, or risk being barred from using the University's internal network.
It is no surprise that the University's Information Services team finally sprung to action: in fact the question may be, what took so long? It was fairly common knowledge amongst hub operators that representatives of IS were using the DC++ hub themselves: some observing, some partaking.
It therefore seems likely that TPTB were aware of the operation for some time. Whether it has taken this long to mount an offensive or if pressure was applied from higher up is as yet undetermined.
Of course, there is little doubt that piracy on the internet should probably be vanquished (although that's not to say that the media industry is necessarily justified in its claims of financial loss). But what is by far the clearest is that the operation of a Peer-To-Peer system within the University's network is in breach of the Terms of Service, as agreed to by students when they decide they'd like to use IS's network provision in their study rooms: not that they have much choice, as IS operates a total monopoly on such chargeable services.
The student body recently received a formal response to an organised campaign, the intent of which was to highlight inconsistencies in the quality of service provided by the Uni's network team.
A lot of promises were made about improvements, but the most important distinguishing feature of the campaign and the response is the overwhelming potential for a true dialogue being opened up between IS and the students who are made to buy their services.
Hopefully, the stark events of 8th December will not sour these burgeoning relations.
Meanwhile, those students who used the hub solely as a way to keep in touch with their peers online may be hard-pressed to find another meeting place, since the use of most third-party mass communications media is impractical through the fortified walls of the University's internal network.