Peer to Peer File Sharing

Downloading, copying and sharing material, such as music, movies, games, and applications, for which the copyright holder has not given you permission is a violation of both the United States Copyright Act and the University of St. Francis Technology Use Policy. As an intelligent web user, it is best to assume that all works of this type found on the Internet are copyright-protected unless explicitly stated otherwise.

The U.S. Copyright Act specifies an individual's civil liability of litigation costs, attorney fees, and actual damages of $750 to $30,000 for each work infringed, and, under certain circumstances, criminal penalties up to $250,000, and/or imprisonment. Furthermore, students, faculty and staff may be placing the University of St. Francis at risk through these actions, as well as themselves by violating the copyright law.

In the event that the university is notified that you are violating copyright laws, the relevant offices within the university will investigate the complaint. If a violation is confirmed, appropriate action will be taken against you in accordance with university policy. Violations of the University Technology Use Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including the suspension of a student user’s network account, and/or criminal prosecution under state and federal statutes.

Although using file-sharing software, such as KaZaA or Morpheus, is not illegal itself, distributing copyrighted material without permission is. Many do not realize that this software may turn your personal computer into a server, or upload site, even if that was not your intent. Unfortunately, you are still legally responsible. Students using their computers as servers for materials can and will have their network connections turned off.

The University of St. Francis strongly encourages users to remove all file-sharing software from your system. At the very least, it is imperative that the file sharing capability of these systems be disabled. The University of Chicago maintains a site that addresses Disabling Peer-to-Peer File Sharing. Go there for additional information on how to disable this function.

Find out more about copyright issues from the University’s copyright website.

Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing
There are many legal sources for copyrighted material such as music and movies; some are free and some charge a nominal fee. Educause maintains a comprehensive list of Legal Downloading Resources.

Members of the University of St. Francis community are encouraged to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.