I emailed BoingBoing‘s very helpful Cory Doctorow with the statement we all had to sign to ask him what his take was on the matter. His response as follows:
I think that this is actually pretty reasonable, as these things go. The only area where I’d take issue with it would be that being presented with a statement that you have to click “I agree” to before proceeding is a pretty crummy way to actually formulating agreements, which are more typically negotiated. This is more like a policy that you are acknowledgeing that you’ve been informed of — calling it an “agreement” undermines the nature of real agreements.
That said, the statement doesn’t say P2P is bad, nor does it say you can’t download copyrighted works without permission — just that if you do so, you should do so under the banner of fair use. By contemporary standards, it’s practically the Anarchist Cookbook.
Also, in talking to my friend Tom who knows a shit ton about this, there isn’t much anyone can do. It’s just a standard cover-yer-arse statement so Wes can’t say it provided the resources for students to well, you know.
Wesleyan is a closed network. Unless Wes allows outside monitors into the network, they’d have to break quite a few federal laws and such to access our information. But most schools won’t allow that kind of outside monitoring because of academic freedom.
So unless Wesleyan intentionally sells out its students, long live the network. Down with corporate whorism. Etc, etc, amen.