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The Risks of P2P File Sharing

Another helpful website,, reminds us of some of the inherent risks associated with downloading and installing software that lets you connect to unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) networks:

  • You could mistakenly download malware, pirated or copyrighted material, or pornography
  • You could allow strangers to access and share your personal files

Visit’s P2P File-sharing page for some tips on what you can do to limit your risk.


What is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing?

“Stealing music on the Internet is every bit as wrong as stealing goods from a store.”

“P2P technology enables millions of computer users around the world to find and trade digital files with each other. While P2P technology itself can be used for legitimate purposes, the predominant – indeed, almost exclusive – use of P2P networks has been to trade copyrighted music, movies, pictures and software. From a legal standpoint, this activity violates copyright holders’ exclusive rights to copy and distribute their works.”

– From, a website with some really helpful information on this topic, including an interesting frequently-asked questions (FAQ) section, and information for parents of college students.

Good Faith Effort to Comply with HEOA

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law in 2008. It contains several sections that deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, imposing three general requirements on all U.S. colleges and universities:

  • An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
  • A plan to “effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials” by users of its network, including “the use of one or more technology-based deterrents,” with a periodic review.
  • A plan to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading.”

The following groups are working together to ensure Stony Brook University makes a good-faith effort to remain in compliance with this law: