Digital Citizen Project, Illinois State University

Current Illinois State Activities

A Proactive Approach to Peer-to-Peer and Copyright Issues at Illinois State University

The Digital Citizen Project was one which strived to turn anecdote into data and successfully contributed to the national conversation of media sharing, P2P issues, and copyright concerns. Primarily conducted from 2006 to 2009, it was funded by Illinois State University with additional funding from partners in the media and higher education arenas. The Project's original goals and plans are archived on this website as are the many findings and presentations. Research in limited areas is ongoing and will be posted to this website upon release.

Project Goals:

  • Significantly impact illegal piracy on campus using a multi-faceted approach to confront pervasive attitudes and behaviors in peer-to-peer downloading of movies, music, and media.
  • Address ethical and legal issues involved through K-16 education, public relations, rewards.
  • Create a nationally recognized program that could be cost-effective, that is based on comparison and research of the products currently available, and that is replicable on other college campuses.

Project Strategies:

  • Education & Awareness — Creating point-of-use software with educational modules on the ethics of Internet behaviors, training in new-student orientation, public relations campaign, and public service spots.
  • Institutional Self-Monitoring & Enforcement — Utilizing monitoring software that tracks and stops suspected copyright infringement activities while educating the user, coupled with institutional policies that reinforce penalties for illegal behaviors while rewarding appropriate use.
  • Legal Digital Media Services — Providing a menu of legal downloading services — known on campus as birdtrax — offering music, movies, and other media covering the spectrum of MP3 devices options rather than supporting just one make, model, or manufacturer.
  • K-12 Education — Developing an elementary/secondary curriculum with “teachable moments” or learning modules at point of use that start the educational process as early as 3rd or 4th grade.
  • Fair Use & Copyright — Developing definitions for copyrighted media similar to print that make it easier to secure legal permissions for educational purposes. And guaranteeing fair use for media for classroom use, thereby using faculty to model appropriate behavior for students.
  • Rewards — Offering incentives such as reduced subscriptions and songs, movie tickets, free concerts, major movie premieres, and more for those participants who have stayed legal through the year or program.

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