Letter to the Editor
I am writing in reply to Myles Skinner's letter in Friday's issue of The Spectrum. In this letter, he condemns the illegal copying of games being done by some of my fellow students. Personally, I do not use illegal copies of software, nor do I share them. Anyone who is doing so should be aware that there are possible legal consequences to his/her actions.
However, I should point out that the Microsoft Network-based file sharing alluded to in the original Spectrum story is far healthier for UB as a whole because it uses internal rather than external bandwidth. UB can only receive about 7 MB of data in a second from the Internet, but can pass far more through the internal network.
File sharing has valid and fully legal uses, such as a group of students sharing a draft of their project and allowing other group members to make changes to that draft. It is not easy to use, requiring logging into the network in a somewhat different manner, but CIT itself provides instructions to set it up; the unofficial search site alluded to in the original article is an extension of this which only makes it slightly more convenient to find and download files, many of them legal.
No, UB does not have a site license for "Quake." However, The Spectrum should not be afraid to discuss the options available, especially when certain options may provide better performance for all campus users. I agree that the tone of the original article was rather anti-establishment, but I don't think it constitutes "unethical reporting" on the part of The Spectrum.
I would like to close with a quotation from the GNU Project, one of the world's largest manufacturers of software for well over a decade: "[Referring to illegal copying as 'piracy' implies that it] is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnapping and murdering the people on them."