Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing
Illegal file sharing of copyrighted material via peer-to-peer (P2P) applications or other means is a serious offense and can lead to university disciplinary actions as well as criminal and civil penalties.
In most cases, it is illegal to upload or download copyrighted material without the owner’s express permission, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) and others are actively tracking and seeking damages against these copyright infringements.
Using P2P software to violate copyright law carries a number of possible university sanctions, including a conduct violation being placed on an employee’s or a student’s university record, which may be disclosed through future employment or educational application processes.
NC State seeks to deter the use of peer-to-peer file transfers for illegal purposes up to and including the implementation of technology-deterrent applications that could monitor traffic content.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008. Regulations for implementing the Act were issued by the Department of Education, to be effective July 1, 2010. NC State has been following an in-house process for dealing with Digital Millenium Copyright Act notices in a timely manner, as well as producing and distributing a number of educational and informational articles to students, faculty and staff on the subject.
Several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, imposing three general requirements on all US colleges and universities:
- A plan to "effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials" by users of its network, including "the use of one or more technology-based deterrents", and periodic reviews of the plan and its success (metrics) on the limiting of illegal copyrighted distribution.
- A plan to "offer alternatives to illegal downloading."
- An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
For further information on exactly what peer-to-peer transactions are, how they work and why they can cause illegal content to be transferred, please download and read this brief article: 7 Things You Should Know About P2P (PDF).
The requirement to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading” specifies that each campus must review the legal alternatives and announce the results of that review to its students and faculty via the Web or other means. The Department of Education recognizes that individual institutions, national associations and commercial entities will develop and maintain up-to-date lists of legal alternatives to illegal downloading. The Department of Education has therefore stated that these external sites/lists may be utilized as reference for compliance with this provision. NC State University will reference the information contained within the EDUCAUSE HEOA Homepage as the list for legal alternatives.
Related information and resources
- Illegal peer-to-peer file sharing alert (memo from Provost Warwick A. Arden to students, 09/24/12)
- Illegal peer-to-peer file sharing alert (3D memo from Chancellor W. Randolph Woodson, 09/17/12)
- Illegal peer-to-peer file sharing alert (3D memo from Chancellor W. Randolph Woodson, 11/02/11)
- lllegal peer-to-peer file sharing alert (memo from Provost Warwick A. Arden to students, 10/12/11)
- Illegal peer-to-peer file sharing alert (memo from Provost Warwick A. Arden to students, 08/18/10)
- Video resources
- FAQS on peer-to-peer file sharing
- 7 Things You Should Know About P2P
- Copyright Infringement
- Training module (TBD)
Industry-specific Internet anti-piracy information
- Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
- Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
- Business Software Alliance (BSA)
NC State policies, procedures, and regulations
- Contact list for HEOA and P2P team
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Process (TBD)
- Safe Computing at NC State
- Computer Use Policy
- Computer Use Regulation
- Copyright Infringement
- Student Handbook
- Student Affairs
- EDUCAUSE Higher Education Opportunity Act and P2P Web site
- EDUCAUSE 7 Things You Should Know About P2P