P2P Protection – Steps to prevent illegal file–sharing
January 1, 2010 | By Damon Armour, IT Security Officer
Starting in January of 2010, Information Technology Services (ITS) will begin taking measures to limit illegal file-sharing activities on the ASU networks. These steps will include educating our faculty, staff, and students on illegal file-sharing and the tools used to acquire the copyrighted materials. ITS also will be using technological controls to prevent and/or rate limit file-sharing applications. ITS has a new website (http://www.aug.edu/its/security/filesharing.html) dedicated to file-sharing awareness.
What is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File-sharing?
Cornell University provides the simplest explanation of what P2P technology is:
P2P file-sharing technology allows users to make files available for other users to download and use. File-sharers store files on their computers, and the file-sharing software enables other users to download the files onto their computers. Examples of P2P file-sharing networks include BitTorrent, Gnutella, and LimeWire, among others.
P2P software is only actionable in both criminal and civil court if a court determines that it induces users to infringe copyright. Copyright may be infringed through the practice of copying and distributing protected work without permission of the owner. If you use P2P software to infringe copyright, you may receive notices of copyright infringement and/or be subject to other legal action.
How can I avoid copyright infringement?
The primary way to avoid copyright infringement is to evaluate potential copyrighted materials and verify that you have permission to maintain possession. For example, if you have a library of MP3s and did not purchase these songs, you more than likely do not have permission. These unauthorized materials should be removed from your digital storage device(s). The same applies to other forms of copyrighted materials such as movies, TV shows, books, etc.
In many cases, your file-sharing application has a folder where, by default, all downloaded materials are stored. This folder is usually shared so that others online can download from you. Depending on the file-sharing software that you are using, this should be the first location that you look to purge.
The easiest way to avoid copyright infringement is to avoid downloading materials without proper permission. Refer to ASU’s File-sharing Legal Alternatives website for the proper avenues of acquiring digital works of art.
Augusta State University takes illegal file-sharing seriously. Our goal is to educate the campus on how to use file-sharing applications in a legal manner. There are many legal alternatives for the content individuals are seeking. The list of new services is growing every month with new music, video, and other media formats. If you are unclear on the applications or content they are using, the ITS Help Desk (706-737-1482) is available to assist in answering these questions.