1. What is peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing?
P2P technology enables millions of computer users around the world to find and trade digital files with each other. By using a P2P computer program, a user can scan the hard drives of millions of people and instantly acquire (download) content with the click of a mouse. At the same time, that user can enable the millions of people on the P2P network to copy the contents of his or her hard drive. Unlike email or instant messaging, P2P enables the transfer of billions of files among millions of people without knowledge of identity or even location. It is, essentially, a massive listing and public warehouse of digital content.
2. What is the concern?
While P2P technology itself can be used for legitimate purposes, the predominant – indeed, almost exclusive – use of P2P networks has been to trade copyrighted music, movies, pictures and software. From a legal standpoint, this activity violates copyright holders’ exclusive rights to copy and distribute their works. From a practical standpoint, this activity threatens the entertainment industry’s ability to succeed in the evolving digital marketplace.
“Resources for Colleges and Universities,” Campus Downloading. Accessed October 29, 2009. <http://www.campusdownloading.com/resources.htm>
California State University, Dominguez Hills, respects copyright law and expects members of the campus community to uphold copyright law. CSUDH students and employees are individually liable to lawsuits directed at them by copyright holders for lost profits. CSUDH is not liable for such infringements on its networks and cannot protect students or employees from record industry or other industry action.
Technology-Based Deterrents at CSUDH
- A vigorous program of accepting and responding to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices; see Procedure for Managing CSUDH Copyright Infraction Notices.
- Read about legitimate download services at 2 B Legal.
- EDUCAUSE: Legal Sources of Online Content (a list of legitimate download services)
- University of Michigan's BAYU (Be Aware You're Uploading), "Using peer-to-peer file sharing safely and appropriately"
- University of California's Share Right, resources about copyright
- "What happens if I receive a copyright infringement notice, and how can I avoid it?" from the Indiana University Knowledge Base
- Campus Downloading FAQs, from campusdownloading.com
- musicunited.org, the MUSIC Coalition's Web site providing information about peer-to-peer file sharing and the law
- For fun: See the University of Wisconsin-Madison's file-sharing video (2 minutes)