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Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing and Copyrighted Material


Peer to peer (P2P) file sharing is technology that allows users to directly connect their computers across a network or the Internet for the purpose of sharing files. There are many different software programs that connect to these P2P networks. Once connected users can search for files or allow others to search their computer for files and share in both directions. 

While P2P programs themselves are not illegal there are many potentially negative and illegal side effects that can come from utilizing such software. Some of those outcomes could include unwanted viruses, worms, Trojans, and spy-ware being installed on your system or the sharing of illegal copyrighted material that could result in civil and criminal penalties. 

Information technology Services currently employs bandwidth-shaping technology to prioritize network traffic and limiting the amount of bandwidth available to P2P applications and on certain networks ITS will block known P2P traffic. The installation of P2P applications on College supported devices is also unsupported. If you need to submit a bid for exception due to legitimate academic need please contact the ITS Help Desk or the Chief Information Officer and the request will be reviewed. 

Copyright Infringement

The use of P2P software becomes illegal when downloading copyrighted music, movies, books, software or games that you do not own or if you allow sharing to others. When you use, transmit, or possess copyrighted material without the express permission of the copyright holders it is deemed copyright infringement which is a serious offense that can subject offenders to significant civil and criminal penalties. 

The use of Owens' network services as an ISP qualifies the College for safe harbor exemption which means the individual is liable for monetary damages if they are found to be committing infringement. While attempting to protect the individual's identity by not releasing the name of the offender, if subpoenaed, we will turn over the name of the infringing user at that time.

Legal Alternatives

The use of digital resources obtained legally is encouraged. In an effort to help users identify legitimate access to copyrighted material the following is a list of examples of services. It is the responsibility of the user to identify the legitimacy of a service.

The nonprofit association for advancing higher education through the use of technology, Educause, maintains a list of resources for legal downloading at: Legal Sources of Online Content

Resources for additional information:


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