Peer-to-peer file sharing, which is also known as P2P, is a network technology. This technology allows internet or network users to transfer files directly, rather than through the use of a website or directory. File transfers are done directly from the users’ computers. Peers are equally privileged. Peers are both suppliers and consumers of resources.

Be Compliant with the Law

  1. Simply - do not install P2P file-sharing software on your computer with the purpose of sharing copyrighted material. 
    • P2P applications search for and share content from computer to computer. As soon as you turn on your computer, these applications will run in the background. Some of the P2P applications, even after you disable uploading, have the ability reset preferences to begin uploading again. They search for specific files - Movies, Software, or Music - in shared folders that can be seen by others using the same P2P network.
    • The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) tests and runs the same P2P software the file sharers do. By using this software, RIAA hopes to catch file sharers sharing copyrighted content with others. P2P users have been caught directly by RIAA in this manner. The person downloading the song from you may be a RIAA employee who is compiling evidence against you. It can happen!
  2. The Rose-Hulman network should never be used for file sharing of copyrighted materials.
    • College and University networks are specifically targeted for file sharing. Aggressive legal strategies are employed by the RIAA. They are very proactive in forwarding legal documents for alleged infringers and filing infringement lawsuits.
  3. If you are using a wireless router in your residence hall, be sure it is secure.
    • You are required to register your wireless router with RHIT – EIT. EIT keeps track of all activity that occurs on the router, and it can be tracked back to you.
    • Be sure to keep all of your passwords your secret. Anyone you give your password to may be sharing copyrighted works using the wireless connection you registered properly with RHIT. If your friend downloads Copyrighted data illegally, you could be held personally responsible for their actions. Ultimately, you could face discipline from RHIT for your friend’s action. You could be sued by the RIAA for your roommate’s action.

Sharing Copyrighted Materials has Consequences

RHIT will make every effort to stop Copyright Infringement. Copyright Infringement is a violation of RHIT policy. It could create potential liability for civil and criminal actions.

RHIT takes Copyright Infringement very seriously. Whatever action is taken by RHIT does not protect you from possible legal process and/or action by the content owner. In very serious cases, content owners have brought infringement suits against users which entitled the owners to a minimum of $750 – and up to $150,000 - per infringement. The 1997 No Electronic Theft Act, which eliminated the requirement that a profit be made by the infringer, created liability specifically in the case of file sharing programs and their users. Users may be subject to criminal investigations if proven guilty of distributing large quantities of copyrighted materials. If these users advertise their services – and even if they do not benefit financially – they also risk being incarcerated if proven guilty.

Portions of this page are based on web documentation produced by Cornell University and are used with permission.


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