Bauer College of Business P2P File Sharing Policy
To prohibit the use of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing applications by all computers connected to the Bauer College of Business network. The primary purpose of this policy is to educate and set expectations for the staff and faculty members of the BCB of their individual and business responsibilities towards the use of P2P applications using the College’s network.
This policy addresses the issues, impacts and concerns with file sharing aspects of Peer-to-Peer networking applications using the College’s network. This policy applies to all computers that are connected to the Bauer College of Business network. This includes, but is not limited to, desktop computers, laptop computers, servers, and any lab based equipment.
A Peer-to-Peer computer network refers to any network that does not have fixed clients and servers but a number of peer nodes that function as both clients and servers to the other nodes on the network. Any node is able to initiate or complete any supported transaction. Peer nodes may differ in local configuration, processing speed, network bandwidth, and storage quantity. P2P computing is the sharing of computer resources and services by direct exchange between systems.
This policy intends to make it clear that P2P architecture, itself, is not in question. What is a concern, however, is one of the most prevalent uses of this technology, P2P File Sharing applications used for the distribution of copyrighted content. File sharing applications such as eDonkey. KaZaA, and Gnutella are examples of the kinds of P2P file sharing software, which can be used inappropriately to share copyrighted content. Along with copyright infringement, other concerns of P2P file sharing applications include network resource utilization, security, and inappropriate content.
Downloading or distributing copyrighted material, e.g. documents, music, movies, videos, text, etc., without permission from the rightful owner violates the United States Copyright Act and several university policies.
Those who obtain or distribute copyrighted material should be aware that if found liable for copyright infringement, the penalties can be severe, depending upon the amount and the willfulness of the infringing activity. Additionally, students, faculty and staff who may be in violation of copyright law place not only themselves at risk- they may be exposing Bauer to liability as an institution, for contributory or explicit infringement, e.g., using the College’s network resources to obtain the material and/or to store the material on College computers and/or servers.
Impact to BCB network
Peer-to-peer file sharing applications typically allow a user to set up their computer so that other people can access specific files on their computer. This process, in effect, converts the user's computer into a server. A user's computer acting as a server can place an enormous burden on the network. Network performance can degrade significantly when P2P file-sharing applications are used, especially when large files are being downloaded.
P2P networks can introduce serious gaps in an otherwise secure network. Threats such as worms and viruses can easily be introduced into the network. P2P applications, if modified, can also allow users outside the college to gain access to data on the user’s computer or even the network. Some P2P applications will also allow third parties to see the user’s IP address. The installation of spyware is also common with many P2P applications.
Users of the BCB’s network may not use peer-to-peer file sharing programs, including, but not limited to, eDonkey, KaZaA, Gnutella, Morpheus, Audiogalaxy, WinMX and BitTorrent or other variants of before mentioned programs. For the purposes of this policy, a Peer-to-peer file sharing application is any application that transforms a personal computer into a server that distributes data simultaneously to other computers. Please note that copyrighted materials cannot be shared by any means without proper permission. This includes sharing via network file shares, the web, or any other means and is not limited to peer-to-peer programs.
Uninstalling Peer-To-Peer Applications
If you have installed a peer-to-peer file sharing application on your computer that connects to the college network you must reinstall your operating system in order to remove all traces of the file sharing software as well as any material that you have downloaded.
If you need assistance you can contact the RICS Helpdesk Support at extension 34871.
Any user who violates this policy risks having their computer censured from the college’s network. Additionally, if found liable for copyright infringement legal actions may be taken. The computer containing the peer-to-peer software will be rebuilt at the RICS expense. Repeat offenses will be escalated for review by the BCB Administrators for further disciplinary action.
Federal copyright law protects the author of intellectual works. This copyright ensures that only the author or the author's assignees have the legal authority to copy, perform or exhibit protected works. These rights extend to the Internet and were supplemented by additional laws when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 2001 (DMCA).
You could violate federal copyright law if:
- Somebody e-mails copyrighted material to you and, in turn, you forward it to one or more friends.
- You make an MP3 copy of a song from a CD that you bought (purchasers are expressly permitted to do so) but subsequently make the MP3 file(s) available on the Internet using a file-sharing network.
- You join a file-sharing network and download unauthorized copies of copyrighted material you want from the computers of other network members.
- To gain access to copyrighted material on the computers of other network members, you pay a fee to join a file-sharing network that is not authorized to distribute or make copies of the copyrighted material. You then download unauthorized material.
- You transfer copyrighted material using an instant messaging service.
- You have a computer with a CD burner that you use to burn copies of music you have downloaded onto writable CDs which you then distribute to your friends.
There is a common misconception that you may duplicate and distribute copies of copyrighted materials so long as you do not sell the duplications. This is untrue. Copying and distributing someone else’s work may violate an author’s rights even when you are not selling the copies. If you have copyrighted material on your computer and need assistance removing it, call the IT Helpdesk at (713)743-4871.