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Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

File sharing is a risky activity.  Peer-to-peer applications do not help you determine whether what you're doing is lawful or not. In many circumstances, you could be violating the law and University Policy if you upload or download copyrightedmaterial. Any sharing of copyrighted materials on the University network is a violation and may lead to disciplinary actions. Downloading, copying and sharing material, such as music, movies, games, and applications, for which the copyright holder has not given you rights is both against the law and SFASU Acceptable Use Policy.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 includes specific statements requiring colleges and universities to comply with digital copyright laws and outlines requirements to address peer-to-peer file sharing.

Requirements are:

Annual Disclosur

SFASU uses a wide variety of methods to inform the community about the law and response to copyright infringement claims.  An email notification is sent out annually covering the community’s responsibilty towards copyright laws. The Technical Support Center periodically briefs Resident Life on copyright, illegal file sharing and related issues. SFASU policies and procedures on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Copyrighted Material are published on the University’s website.  Community members should be knowledgeable on Digital Millennium Copyright (D-42) and Copyrighted Works Reproduction (A-12) policies.

Once an official infringement notice is received, the complaint resolution team initiates the take-down procedures.  The person responsible on the alleged infringing materials is summoned. The dean or director for the area involved is also notified on the infringement. If the responsible party does not respond timely to the official summons, access to the University network is denied.

Consider the use of technology-based deterrents to illegal file sharing

We do not block P2P applications but use a bandwidth traffic shaper to ensure that the bandwidth consumption is for legal purposes only.

Offer Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

There are numerous options for obtaining music, videos, and other digital content in a legal manner. Members of the SFASU community are encouraged to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.  Educause provides a list of legal download sites:

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years arid fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

Contact TSC/Helpdesk x4357 for assistance in disabling peer-to-peer file sharing.

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