ITS Service Center

Copyright FAQs

Peer to Peer (P2P) FAQ & Information

Overview of File-sharing and Copyright Infringement Questions & Answers

Q. What is file-sharing?

A. File sharing refers to the providing and receiving of digital files over a network, usually following the peer-to-peer (P2P) model, where the files are stored on and served by personal computers of the users. Most people who engage in file sharing on the Internet both provide (upload) files and receive files (download).

Q. How do I know if i'm violating Copyright infringement Laws?

A. If you don't have a receipt or can't prove proof of purchase for the music, movie(s), game(s) or any other media file(s) on your computer then it's considered copyright Infringement.

 Using programs such as Lime Wire, KaZaA, BearShare or any other file transfer (P2P) program in which you are not paying for or in which does not have a license to distribute or sell copyright materials are illegal.

Q. What if I downloaded the material(s) at home or came to campus with previously downloaded material(s) on my computer, can I still get caught?

A. Regardless of where or when you've downloaded the copyrighted materials you are still in violation, unless you can prove that you have a receipt for the items or can prove proof of purchase.

Q. How do I know if I have been flagged for copyright infringement?

A. When you open up your web browser the ResNet Quarantine page will be displayed informing you that you've been flagged.

Q. What should I do if I've been flagged for copyright infringement?

A. Immediately disconnect your Ethernet cord from your computer and delete any/all copyrighted materials from your computer.

Q. How did I get caught?

A. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) along with other associations scan the campus network looking for students who are using file sharing programs or who have the file sharing feature turned "on", on their computers.

Q. What is Fredonia's position for Copyright Infringement matters?

A. Fredonia tries to help the students out as much as possible and to help keep them from getting sued by the enforcement agency. When you are flagged for copyright infringement we ask that you immediately disconnect your Ethernet cable from your computer so you are no longer on the network and delete all copyrighted materials off of your computer and any file sharing programs you may have. In return this will ensure that you do not get caught again.

Q. What happens to me now that I've been caught?

A. You immediately lose your ResNet Internet service for 30 days and are referred to Student Conduct. You will receive a letter in your campus mail box regarding the issue and when your 30 day suspension is up you may call the ResNet service to have your Internet service turned back on.

Q: What will happen if I receive a second Copyright Infringement Notice?

A. You will lose your internet connection for the remainder of the academic year and face further action by The Office of Student Conduct depending on the severity of the infraction.

Q. Does Fredonia scan its network for illegal files?

A. Fredonia does not scan the campus network or student owned computers for illegal files.

Q. What are my obligations under the law, and what are the legal risks?

A. Essentially, the law stipulates that you cannot have anything on your computer that you do not legally own. More importantly, you cannot share any file to which you do not have the legal rights. Currently, copyright violations can result in civil penalties of up to $250,000 per violation. Theoretically, if you send 10 people a copy of a song you have on your computer which you've gained illegally, you might be facing statutory damages in excess of 2 million dollars. In addition to civil liability, there is potential criminal liability in copyright cases-- with penalties depending on the number and value of products exchanged.

Downloading (taking) and uploading (sharing) content are both fraught with risk.   Copyright owners get to call the shots about whether their material is shared online, and the downloader is left to bear the responsibility for not respecting the copyright owners' decisions.

Fredonia policy also forbids illegal file-sharing.

Other information

Q. What can I do to help? How can I avoid problems with this?

A. The simplest way to avoid problems is to stop both downloading and sharing illegal files. Students often fail to recognize that trading in most copyrighted material is, in fact, breaking the law, and that it can lead to serious consequences. If you are using a P2P application, don't download files unless you are confident they can be freely traded. Perhaps more importantly, if you don't have files that you can legally share (even if you have the rights to own them, such as legal downloads or CDs you have purchased), configure the application not to allow uploads to other users. Many P2P applications keep running even after you quit, unless you explicitly tell them to disconnect. Disconnect your program from its network whenever you can, and quit it when you're not using it.

Q. How can I obtain digital files legally?

A. MP3s can be legally obtained through online subscription services or from sites officially permitted by the copyright holders to offer certain MP3 downloads.

The following is a list of some services/Web sites where you can legally download digital music for a fee:

Q. How can I share digital files legally?

A. You can legally share any files to which you personally own the copyright, including academic and artistic work as well as useful documents such as resumes. You can also share works that exist in the public domain (i.e., works whose copyright has expired). Keep in mind for legal file-sharing that the burden is on you to ensure that there's copyright authorization for any shared files. There is much interest in legal file-sharing and innovative peer-to-peer technologies in business, government, and education, especially with increasing network capabilities like those of Internet 2. See, for example, the Peer-to-Peer Working Group.

Resources on Copyright Law and the DMCA

Q. How can I find out more information?

A. For more information, visit these informative Web sites:

EDUCAUSE summary of DMCA issues A summary of news and information on DMCA issues provided by EDUCAUSE, "a non-profit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information.

Electronic Frontier Foundation DMCA archive Archived links to legal documents, articles, etc. on DMCA issues, provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that works to help protect civil liberties, especially in relation to technology.

10 Copyright Myths Explained Information about common copyright misconceptions

U.S. Copyright Law More information on US Copyright Law from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Campus Downloading Video A free educational video about downloading material on campus.

RIAA P2P Lawsuit Information RIAA information about copyright lawsuits and facilitating early settlements.