The use of file-sharing (peer-to-peer or P2P) programs to trade music and movies over the Internet is illegal and violates the federal copyright law known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); it is also a violation of College policy. The law is enforced by federal investigators, by the owners of copyrighted materials, and by organizations acting on their behalf. Copyright infringement occurs whenever someone makes or distributes songs, videos, software, cartoons, photographs, stories and novels without authorization from the copyright owner. When using a computer network to share copyrighted materials with others, both the people making copies (downloading and those offering such materials to others) serving via a P2P network are infringing upon copyright owners' rights and violating copyright law.
Students who engage in this type of activity are at risk of being identified by both federal investigators and copyright owners. Under copyright law, liability for students engaging in P2P file-sharing using college networks ranges from $750 to $30,000 per work. In addition, the College is legally required to cooperate with the authorities if a claim is made by a copyright holder against a student; otherwise, the College could face claims of contributory liability. The College must notify the student that they have to remove any files as well as P2P file sharing programs from her computer. If the student fails to comply with this filesharing policy, they could also be subject to disciplinary action under the College's Conduct system. Students found to have violated this policy could lose their network privileges as well as be subject to other disciplinary sanctions (see the Conduct System and Redress for Students for additional information about the College's conduct system.
To prevent P2P file-sharing, which requires significant use of bandwidth, the College has programs in place that limit the amount of bandwidth an individual can use. In addition, the College has blocked access to its computer network for programs such as Gnutell, KaZaA, WinMX and BitTorrent. Students who have P2P file-sharing applications on computers that are connected to the College's network must remove the file-sharing software and any material that they have downloaded.