Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing
Cornell University provides the simplest explanation of what is peer-to-peer (P2P) technology:
Peer-to-peer (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.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the primary law related to digital technology and copyright infringements. Wikipedia defines the DMCA as:
[A] United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998 by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users.
University Policy related to Copyrighted Materials
Augusta State University"s Computer & Network Usage Policy has three specific statements that address copyright infringement.
4.1.2. Intellectual property
You are responsible for recognizing (attributing) and honoring the intellectual property rights of others.
4.9. Use of copyrighted information and materials
You are prohibited from using, inspecting, copying, or storing copyrighted computer programs and other material, in violation of copyright.
6.3. Upholding of copyrights and license provisions
Augusta State University has the responsibility to uphold all copyrights, laws governing access and use of information, and rules of organizations supplying information resources to members of the community (e.g., acceptable use policies for use of Internet).
Common P2P Applications
- eDonkey (eMule)
Methods to Prevent Infringement
The primary task to avoid any copyright infringement is to evaluate any potential copyrighted materials and validate that you have permission to maintain possession. For example, if you have a library of MP3s, but did not purchase those songs; you more than likely do not have permission. Those unauthorized materials should be removed from your digital storage device(s). The same would apply 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. This should be the first location, depending on the file sharing application, that you look to purge.
The easiest way to avoid copyright infringement is to avoid downloading materials without proper permission and maintaining those unauthorized materials on a variety of digital storage mediums. Refer to the next section for the proper avenues of acquiring digital works of art.
Free Video, TV, Movies
Music Subscription Services
Video, TV, Movie Subscription Services
Music Online Stores
Video, TV, Movie Online Stores
Educause Additional List of Alternatives
Illegal File Sharing Control
Augusta State University has in place a solution to prevent illegal file sharing on the ASU networks. Starting in January of 2010, these features will be enabled to block file sharing protocols such as FastTrack, Gnutella, Gnutella2, eDonkey, and BitTorrent. Information Technology Services will continue to monitor the network for patterns and make adjustments as necessary.
Requests for Exemptions