Peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing programs, which can be downloaded for free from the Internet, enable people to participate in a file-sharing "community."
It is illegal to download to your computer, copyrighted materials (including music, video, images, games, software, etc.) for which you have not obtained a license through purchase, rental agreement, or written permission from the copyright owner.
It is illegal to distribute (share) copyrighted materials using your computer without the written permission of the copyright owner, even if you have obtained a license for the material through purchase or rental agreement.
Violating copyright laws is a serious issue that can result in severe legal consequences. Copyright infringement also violates SU's Information Technology Resources Acceptable Use Policy and can result in University disciplinary action against students, faculty, and staff.
REALITY: Copyright holders can trace illegal downloading or uploading (sharing) of copyrighted materials to your computer's IP address. A single violation-one song, one movie, one game-can cost you more than $3,000. In fact, several SU students recently paid $3,000 plus attorney fees to settle RIAA complaints of alleged copyright violations.
REALITY: Purchasing copyrighted material does not give you the right to share copies (or distribute copies) of that material with others. Copyright owners determine the number and price of copies that will be distributed. Copyright owners have the sole authority to distribute copies of their protected work.
REALITY: Purchasing a copy of a song, video, game, or software in the past does not give you the right to free downloads of the material in the future. You may, however, convert a copy of a song or video into another format for your own personal use.
REALITY: RIAA lawsuits initially focused on "egregious infringers" (those with hundreds of files available). Today, the RIAA does not have "any minimum amount of files in order to move forward with a lawsuit," said Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America, during an online chat with college newspaper reporters in March 2007. Complaints have been filed against SU students who have downloaded or shared just one file.
REALITY: P2P programs are automatically configured to share all of the music on your computer across the Internet. These programs often work in the background of your computer's operating system and are difficult to disable. You may unwittingly be sharing both music you obtained legally and music you obtained through illegal downloads.
REALITY: It is not okay to download or share television programs on the Internet without the permission of the copyright owner through purchase or rental agreement (i.e. Fox Television). Television producers are increasingly filing complaints against illegal downloads and sharing of copyrighted programs.
Last Updated: 12/20/16