Publicly available peer-to-peer (p2p) programs such as BitTorrent, Kazaa, Morpheus, Limewire and others have become a popular way to find and download software, music MP3s, movies, or images. These programs are not in themselves illegal, but much of the material made available through them is copyright protected.
Some p2p programs set themselves up as servers when they are first installed. Files that are downloaded are subsequently served up to other users on the Internet, and any copyrights which have been violated are thereby further violated.
Many of the p2p sites now have warnings against copyright infringement as well as instructions for safe use. But apart from the significant monetary damages, fines, or even criminal penalties that could result from copyright infringement, peer-to-peer file-sharing applications consume huge amounts of the University's bandwidth. This creates stress on the network that limits people's abilities to do research and academic work.
The University's Computer and Network Use Policy states that users of University information resources must respect intellectual property and all copyrighted digitized resources, including but not limited to software, databases, music, graphic images, video, text, and works of fiction and nonfiction. Users must also refrain from using University resources in any way that interferes with the University’s mission of teaching, learning, research, and professional and community service, and respect the rights of other computer users.
If there is evidence of misuse of computing resources, and if that evidence points to the computing activities or the computer files of an individual, that individual's access to University systems may be restricted or suspended, and appropriate disiciplinary action may be taken.
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