The universities say they want to free up space for legitimate academic needs. Their tactics coincide with an aggressive anti-piracy effort by the music industry to get tough.
The University of Florida began using locally developed software this summer, allowing the housing department to detect and stop file-sharing among students in its dorms. Students caught in the act twice are shut off for five days from Internet access, while those caught a third time lose Internet privileges indefinitely.
In Florida State University dormitories, computer technicians purposely segregate large file transmissions. They are put into narrow bandwidths, forcing traffic jams and making it difficult to download files.
Students at Florida International University are barred from receiving any file larger than 13 megabytes and sending a file larger than five megabytes. A single compact disc holds more than 600 megabytes and one song typically ranges between three and five megabytes.