Another helpful website, OnGuardOnline.gov, 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 OnGuardOnline.gov’s P2P File-sharing page for some tips on what you can do to limit your risk.
“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 campusdownloading.com, 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.
Over the past few months, we have received numerous complaints from owners of copyrighted material that members of our community are not being sufficiently diligent in protecting their rights to those materials. The complaints thus far have concerned software, movies, television shows, music recordings, and academic journals. We are obligated to ask you to read and follow University Policy P512: Duplication of Materials Protected by Copyright.
Specifically, you are not to use Stony Brook’s computer network to share copyrighted material without the express permission of the copyright owner. You should know that outside companies monitor file transfer activity (e.g. BitTorrent, IRC, Newsgroups) and that they are actively trying to sue for damages for copyright violations. The network traffic responsible for transferring copyrighted files over the Stony Brook network may be subject to monitoring and further investigation.
You should know that an extraordinary amount of malware is spread through peer-to-peer networks (e.g. BitTorrent, IRC, Newsgroups) which puts your computer at risk and may increase the risk to the community.
Finally, you are reminded to periodically change the password associated with your NetID, and to never share it with others because any copyright violation would then be attributed to you.
In closing, you should know that Stony Brook University as a community of scholars values the sharing of information, but also recognizes and respects intellectual property rights.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter.
Chief Information Security Officer
Division of Information Technology
Stony Brook University
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: