Peer to Peer

'Peer to peer' applications have come into widespread use over the last few years. These allow users to participate in a file sharing 'community' or 'network', allowing users to search the network for files that may interest them and to bring those files to their own computers. Use of p2p software at the University is allowed but staff and students may not use p2p applications to acquire copyrighted materials without permission to do so.

Most p2p programs also automatically share files from the user's disk to other users worldwide, unless the user takes specific actions to prevent this. Sharing copyrighted materials without permission is quite likely to subject the user and the University to legal sanctions. Moreover, the traffic such sharing generates can easily cause problems for other users at the University. There may also be security issues involved. Any of these outcomes can violate University policy.

The University is required by copyright law to take action when notified that someone on its network is distributing copyrighted materials. The University will not protect individuals who distribute copyrighted material unlawfully.

Failure to restrict p2p applications appropriately, whether you are aware of the violation or not, may result in legal and or disciplinary action.

p2p software has been used in particular to share and download recorded music illegally. There are now provisions, such as the Music Licence and the provisions for personal use, that allow users to copy recorded music for either educational purposes (the music licence) or for personal use. However, all of these provisions require that the original work being copied is a legal non-pirate copy. You can not use either of these provisions to download music illegally from a p2p network.

For more information see the AVCC paper on p2p file sharing.

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