Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced or distributed without the permission of the copyright owner.
P2P is a technology that allows individual users to connect to each other directly and trade files with each other. Using a computer program, users can share their hard drive and search the hard drives of others using the same computer program. This technology allows millions of file transfers without the users knowing with whom they are transferring files.
Some examples of commonly used P2P software are: KaZaa, LimeWire, Gnutella, BitTorrent and Ares. Many users of these programs feel anonymous since they do not know who they are sharing files with; however, this is not the case. Your computer is identified by an Internet Protocol (IP) address and a Machine Address (MAC) and can be easily traced back to you.
P2P programs are designed to share your files. The default settings on these programs open your computer so that others may look at and take your files. Also, many P2P programs are targets for spyware and viruses.
P2P software is legal; however, the process of sharing copyrighted material is illegal. Organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and others monitor file sharing on the internet and notify the University when a computer is illegally sharing copyrighted files.
Students, faculty and staff are prohibited from using the University's network to illegally share copyrighted materials including music, movies and software. Recent legislation mandates that the University address illegal file sharing on campus. Consistent with the University's Computing, Networks and Telecommunications Policy and in order to comply with copyright infringement legislation, Technology and Communications will address all RIAA complaints.
If the University receives notification that you are illegally sharing files, your network privileges will be suspended until the issue has been addressed. The University will take the following action:
Additionally, the organization that owns the copyright or represents the owner of the copyright may also take legal action, which can result in criminal penalties including fines.
Use legal downloading services. Some legal music sources include:
Avoid file sharing programs. The University discourages file sharing programs due to the risk that the shared files may be copyrighted. Many of these programs automatically place downloaded files in a shared folder on your computer meaning you could be sharing copyrighted material without even knowing it.
If you are concerned that you may be sharing copyrighted files, please contact the Technology Help Center for assistance.