Renowned Hollywood film studio Paramount Pictures has served a notice to Meerut's Chaudhary Charan Singh University (CCSU) after a large number of students illegally downloaded movies through the varsity's IP address. CCSU had started a free WiFi service for students last year. Since the university had not set up any firewall, students had been downloading movies and TV series without restriction. The National Informatics Centre (NIC), New Delhi, on Friday sent a copy of the notice to CCSU. The NIC had received the legal notice from one Adrian Leatherland from the Australia-based anti-piracy firm IP-Echelon. The Los Angeles-based Paramount Pictures is a client of IP-Echelon, which monitors online piracy across 25 countries. One of the firm's biggest clients is HBO, which had hired it last year to track down "pirates" who were leaking episodes of its hit show 'Game of Thrones' online.
In the notice sent to NIC, IP-Echelon stated that they had found that CCSU's IP address has been used to illegally download and distribute video files which are exclusively owned by its client Paramount.
"IP-Echelon has a good faith belief that the Paramount video content has not been authorized for sharing or distribution by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I also assert that the information contained in this notice is accurate to the best of our knowledge. We are requesting your immediate assistance in removing and disabling access to the infringing material from your network. We also ask that you ensure the user and IP address owner refrains from future use and sharing of Paramount materials and property," the notice read.
In July last year, CCSSU had started a free campus WiFi service for students. Since the university had not set up any firewalls, students had been using torrent software to download movies and TV series. The varsity had set up a dozen service set identifiers (SSID) for teachers and students. By using a common password, anyone can avail the free WiFi service on campus.
"Soon after we started the free internet service, the man who runs the tea stall outside the university gate got to know the password somehow and he sold it to outsiders for Rs 50 each. People from all over the city come to the campus to avail the WiFi service since we offer an internet speed of 1 GBPS. We have over 9,000 users even though we have only 4,000 students enrolled. This situation will continue till the firewall is set up,"Sandeep Agrawal, the university's network administrator said.
CCSU registrar Deep Chand said, "My office is yet to receive the notice but nonetheless, we have set up a committee to probe the matter. Since it involves technical issues that are related to the installation of firewalls, the committee will take another day or two to give us a report. We will then take further action."