The technical term is “deep packet inspection,” a process by which
universities can examine the contents of electronic files that pass
back and forth on their networks to see if they contain copyrighted
material like the latest M.I.A. single or an episode of Gossip Girl.
It’s the equivalent of requiring institutions to steam open and read
every letter that passes through the campus mail. It’s also expensive,
slows down the entire network, and won’t actually work, because the
small number of students who are responsible for the most egregious
piracy also tend to be the students with the technical know-how needed
to stay three steps ahead of whatever new filtering mechanisms the
university might devise.
The entertainment industry insists that it doesn’t necessarily want
to go this way, but that’s obviously a lie. Earlier this year, it
supported legislation in Illinois and Tennessee that would have
required colleges to implement “technology-based deterrents” to piracy
if they received more than a certain number of infringement notices.
Around the same time, colleges across the country began seeing a
in the number of infringement notices they received.. When colleges
protested the new burden, the RIAA said their past voluntary
cooperation meant they were legally obligated to comply in the future. (Inside Higher Ed)