Ohio State cops have made the latest raid on techie college students, seizing computer equipment from three freshman and one sophomore.
Officers charged into the students' dormitory rooms earlier this month in a search for evidence linking them to a file-trading network run on the OSU network, The Lantern reports. Search warrants in hand, the coppers nicked some computers, video game manuals, Blockbuster movie rental cards, DVDs, a microphone and a power cord.
"I thought they were coming in for a drug raid," Josh Cavinee, a sophomore in aeronautical engineering told the school paper. "They came in, patted me down and made me sit in the corner. It's a good thing we didn't have drugs here."
It is too, Josh.
Freshman Patrick Muckerman was not as lucky. The computer engineering student was found to have a computer running a server that helped other students search for files. All of the students are thought to have been running Direct Connect Hub file-sharing software on OSU's ResNet network.
Police officials would not tell the paper what kind of charges the students may face, but it's not hard to venture a guess. Earlier this month, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) settled up with four other busted file-trading students to the tune of $59,500.
It's a little harder to justify these types of raids on college students after a Los Angeles court cleared a path for file-swapping software. The students were playing a similar role to StreamCast and Grokster, serving as a file trading facilitators, if you will.
The really bad ones are the 3,000 students sucking up OSU's bandwidth. Why not put the entire campus under house arrest?
Detective Willis Amweg stated in an affidavit that: "Section 291.04 ORC (Ohio Revised Code) makes it a criminal offense for any person to knowingly gain access to any computer network beyond the scope of the express consent of the owner of the computer network."
A directive that vague and broad should be sufficient to shut down all of the collegians' PCs - one power cord at a time.
None of the OSU students were arrested, and the police admitted they are not quite sure what to do next. The RIAA's SWAT team has no doubt booked a flight to Columbus, so it can help.
One of the OSU students denied running any type of trading hub in his comments to The Lantern.
"I wasn't running a hub; they just think I was," said Eric Diamond, a freshman in electrical and computer engineering. said. "I used the system, and that is it."
Police have not returned his calls for more information. ®