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Monday, November 10, 2008

Study reveals that educating students on P2P could reduce illegal file sharing

An interesting article posted on Inside Higher Ed discusses preliminary findings from an in-depth study of student’s downloading habits. The study is funded by the Digital Citizen Project and involves monitoring the Internet use of students living on campus at Illinois State University. The students were monitored for three separate months and to date only data from the first month has been analyzed. One finding from the study reveals that many students are simply not aware of the difference between illegal and legal peer-to-peer file sharing which leads researchers to believe that the true issue with file sharing is lack of education.

Warren Arbogast, founder and president of Boulder Management Group and member of Digital Citizen Project’s management team said, “The one thing we do know is that we cannot assume the students know more than they know.”

Arbogast went on to say that file sharing should not be thought of as a technological issue that can be solved by installing the right monitors because that mindset leads to a race between students and the industry to outdo one another with new and innovative ways to share music and video. Arbogast noted, “I think the bottom line for me is that this ... now is less an IT issue than it is an education issue. We’ve got a problem with theft, and I think the question is do we want to try and do something about it?”

Once all data from the study has been analyzed, the findings could provide insight into the types of interventions that could be used to reduce illegal file sharing.

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