Campus News Blog: International Students

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kathryn Sharkey

I don’t know if it’s because I recently returned from studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, that I’m just more aware now, or if this is actually the case, but it seems like there are more and more international students on campus.

When I walk to class, I always end up near students speaking Spanish, Italian, or with thick Eastern European accents. This didn’t happen three years ago when I was a first year student.

I decided to look and see what SMU’s statistics are for international students. The SMU website states that “more than 850 international students from 90 countries attend SMU.”

The top countries that undergraduate students came from in the fall of 2009 were: India, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Republic of South Korea, United Kingdom, El Salvador, South Africa, Canada, Pakistan, Panama, and Sweden, according to the office of institutional research.

What does SMU do to help these students mix with and meet Americans? It can be overwhelming to live and study in a country so drastically different from your own.

In Denmark, we had the choice to participate in a program where we were matched with a Dane and we would meet at least once a week to just do whatever. The students who participated all enjoyed it, saying it was cool to see the country with a guide who knew where to go and what was worth seeing.

I don’t know if that kind of program would work at SMU, but it might help international students cope with the culture shock.

Global News Blog: Conflict of Interest in Judge of Pirates Bay

April 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Stephanie Minton

The lawyers for the four Pirates Bay defendants are calling for a retrial citing the conflict of interest of the judge. The judge, Tomas Norstrom, is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association and is on the board of the Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property.

The Pirates Bay defendants,
Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde, were found guilty of breaking copyright laws and sentenced to pay $4.5 million in damages to entertainment companies including Warner Bros. and Sony Music Entertainment as well as a year in jail on April 17 2009.

In an article for the BBC, a former senior attorney in Sweden, Sven-Erik Alhem states that, “I’m not sure the superior court could say that this was unfair, but had he been open then it wouldn’t have been an issue.”

Other Swedish citizens do not see it this way and believe that this is corrupt and unforgivable, thus a retrial is needed for justice.

This type of case is important for the future of the Internet and file sharing websites. If the judge of the case has a preconceived bias, this bias will influence not only this case but also cases to come, which can result in a loss of rights of the individual.

Global News Blog: Internet Use In Sweden Drops

April 6, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Stephanie Minton

In Sweden this past week Internet traffic fell 33 percent. The drop was due to the recent law, the Local IPRED, that came into effect on April 1, 2009. Under Sweden’s new policy, copyright holders can force an Internet service provider to reveal details of users who share files. According to Statistics Sweden, a government statistics agency, about 8 percent of the Swedish population uses a peer-to-peer sharing program to share video, audio and music files.

Sweden’s new law is based on the European Union’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, which allows copyright holders to obtain a court order forcing Internet service providers (IPS) to provide the IP address that identifies the computer with that shared copyrighted material. A book publisher in Sweden, on the day the law was enacted, requested an IPS to report the details of one file sharer who allegedly houses more than 3,000 audio book on his server.

Christian Engstrom, the vice chair of the Swedish Pirate Party, told the BBC he believes that this new law gives the legal right to go after citizens to private corporations and that this new law will be a disaster for file sharers but more importantly a disaster for Sweden.

Due to the fact that this law is based on a directive from the European Union it will be interesting to see if other EU countries adopt a similar law to stop file sharing and give corporations the ability to prosecute supposed offenders. If this is the case how many people will be prosecuted and will it only be those who house thousands of files or will thousands of people be punished?

Global News Blog: Sweden’s ‘The Pirate Bay’ BitTorrent Accused of Copyright Theft

February 21, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Stephanie Minton

The founders of a file sharing website site, The Pirate Bay are on trial for charges of copyright theft. Media firms, including MGM, Sony and Warner Brothers filed suit against Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmsioppi and Carl Lundstrom, the founders, in Sweden where the website servers were once based. If convicted, the men could face up to two years in prison as well as a monetary fine.

The representatives of the music, movie and video game industry are seeking 115 million Kronor, (about 10.6 million Euro), in damages for the lost profit due to the illegal downloads that occurred as a result of the website. The Pirate Bay, the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker, was founded in 2003 and allows users to exchange files free of charge such as videos, music and television programs online.

This is not the first time The Pirate Bay has been in trouble with the law. In 2006 the Swedish police raided and seized the servers located at The Pirates Bay offices. This raid resulted in a temporary closure of the site but it was resurrected within days.

The defendants, according to a BBC article, believe that they are innocent because their servers do not store the content, thus they are not directly participating in copyright theft. The prosecution charged the men with aiding in the distribution of copyright material: for providing a service that allows others to share materials that belong to the media firms.

The trial brings to the light fact that the laws that dictate Internet use have not changed as quickly as technology. The ruling in the case will shape the way future copyright cases are viewed and brought to justice.