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Smile, the MPAA is watching you!

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The MPAA took action against a student here at the University of Kansas this weekend after they traced an illegally downloaded copy of Austin Powers in Goldmember to his computer.

Here are the most interesting excerpts from the story that appeared in the University Daily Kansan:

The Motion Picture Association of America traced an illegally copied movie file to a campus computer on Saturday.

The MPAA identified the illegally downloaded movie as Austin Powers Goldmember, acquired with the program KaZaA. University Computing Services then took action and pinpointed the Internet protocol address to an architecture student’s personal computer in Marvin Hall.

Representatives of University Computing Services said KU reacted in accord with standard procedure by notifying the student who had committed the infringement and asking the person to delete the file. The student had to respond with an e-mail to Computing Services, notifying the department of the file’s deletion within 24 hours.

The student — whose name was not released — complied with instructions from officials in the school of architecture and in University Computing Services. After deleting the file, Computing Services restored the student’s campus Internet connection.

“It’s a situation that’s under control, and as far as we’re concerned, it was never out of control,” said John Gaunt, dean of architecture.

One such student, a Battenfeld Hall resident, received an e-mail August 30 that ordered him to delete the movies Accidental Spy and The Rookie from his hard drive.

“It got into this fiasco,” said Kevin Burke, Lawrence freshman. “I don’t know how they got my name, but I know a ton of people who are downloading movies within this building and they haven’t gotten caught.”

University Computing Services representatives don’t want students to think it is eying their every move. Mehmedovic said University Computing Services only tracked down students when an outside source, such as the MPAA or the Recording Industry Association of America, identified a computer on campus.

Let me just ask one question: why would anyone want to download Goldmember?

Actually, my real question is: What are the MPAA and RIAA doing rooting around in people’s computers? Don’t they have anything better to be doing with their time (such as starting to put forth some quality material) than tip-toeing along the line of invasion of privacy?

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