IT security using laptop

Copyright Peer-to-Peer and Illegal File Sharing

Why is illegal file-sharing an issue at pace?

Pace University is a strong advocate of copyright law and other protections for intellectual property rights. We are actively promoting awareness about copyrights to protect the Pace University community and to maintain the integrity of the institution. Any sharing or distribution of copyrighted material on the University network is a breach of the Appropriate Use Policy for Information Technology, and can lead to disciplinary proceedings and legal action.

The House of Representatives approved legislation to renew the Higher Education Act. This legislation sets parameters for most student aid programs, and other higher education policy. One policy requires institutions to develop plans for giving students legal ways to download music and movies and to explore technologies to stop illegal peer-to-peer file sharing.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following... (Information from U.S. Copyright Office website)

For more information about Copyright see :
COPYRIGHT BASICS from the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress. The U.S. Copyright office provides all copyright forms for applying for a copyright, circulars and factsheets for information about copyrights and the process, and reports or studies or reports about copyrights.

Copyright & Intellectual Property Policies by the Association of Research Libraries

For more information about Copyright and Fair Use @ Pace University see: Copyright and the Online user

What is peer-to-peer (p2p)?

Peer-to-Peer file sharing is a technology that allows people to download files from one another over the Internet.

Normal downloads have a two participant relationship; a server that hosts the file and a clients that downloads the file. Using P2P applications, networked computers share files without the need for a client server relationship. Each computer acts simultaneously as a client and server. P2P users store files on their computers and the P2P application enables other users to download those files onto their computers.

Examples of P2P applications include BitTorrent, KaZza, Limewire, and BearShare.

See also Wikipedia article on Peer-to-peer.

What are the dangers of using p2p?

Copyright infringement - P2P technology makes it possible to share files that are copyrighted. Federal law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display or public performance of copyrighted materials over the Internet without permission of the copyright holder. Pace University fully complies with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and has the measures in place for tracking alleged incidents of copyright infringement.

Malicious software - Using P2P applications, it is difficult to verify that the sources of the files are trustworthy. Often, attackers use P2P to transmit malicious code such as spyware, malware, or viruses into the files.

Identity theft - Exposure of personal information is also possible when using P2P. P2P users may leave themselves wide open to identity theft by misconfiguring their computer settings.

How do i ensure i’m in compliance with the law?

Don’t install P2P applications on your computer . If you download or distribute copyrighted material, even unknowingly, you may be faced with campus disciplinary or legal action.

Don’t use the University network . Pace University is in full compliance with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act and will provide the identity of alleged infringers when a subpoena is issued.

Secure your wireless router at home. You can be held responsible for any illegal activity, even unknowingly, that occurs on your unsecured router.

Get more information on securing your wireless router, or visit the Router Security website.

What are the consequences if i get caught?

Pace University frequently receives notices from the RIAA, DMCA and other content owners that copyrighted material has been infringed by a user on the University network. Once the user is verified, the user is forwarded a copy of the notice and is ordered to cease and desist any illegal activity.

If a subpoena is issued by the RIAA, by law, the University is required to provide the identity of alleged infringers. You then risk further legal action and University disciplinary action.

Offenders will be referred to the Dean for Students. Depending on the severity of the offense, disciplinary action can range from Internet connection termination to expulsion from the University.

Additionally, there may be Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Law. See below for information:
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office, especially their FAQ.

The University Student Code of Conduct/Guiding Principles and Disciplinary Procedures can be found in the Student Handbook.

Below is an example of a DMCA notice:

Entertainment Software Association
1211 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036 USA

Attention: Piracy Enforcement - DMCA Officer
Phone: (202) 223-2400
Fax: (202) 223-2401

November 15, 2008

To Who It May Concern:

I am an authorized representative of the Entertainment Software Association ("ESA"), which represents the intellectual property interests of twenty-four (24) companies that publish interactive games for video game consoles, personal computers, handheld devices and the Internet.

ESA is providing this letter of notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and 17 USC Sec. 512 (c) to make Pace University aware of material on its network or system that infringes the exclusive copyright rights of one or more ESA members. This notice is addressed to you as the agent designated by Pace University to receive notifications of claimed infringement, as so reflected in the current records of the U.S. Copyright Office. Under penalty of perjury, we hereby affirm that the ESA is authorized to act on behalf of the ESA members whose exclusive copyright rights we believe to be infringed as described herein.

ESA has a good faith belief that the Internet site found at continues to infringe the rights of one or more ESA members by offering for download one or more unauthorized copies of one or more game products protected by copyright, including, but not limited to:


The unauthorized copies of such game product[s] appearing on, or made available through, such site are listed and/or identified thereon by their titles, variations thereof, or depictions of associated artwork (any such game titles, copies, listings and/or other depictions of, or references to, any contents of such game product, are hereinafter referred to as "Infringing Material"). Based on the information at its disposal on 11/15/2004 at 5:05 a.m. EST (GMT -0500), ESA believes that the statements in this Notice are accurate and correctly describe the infringing nature and status of the Infringing Material.

Accordingly, ESA hereby requests Pace University to immediately remove or disable access to the Infringing Material at the URL address identified above.

Should you have questions, please contact the ESA at the above listed mailing address or by replying to this email. Please also include the above noted Reference Number in the subject line of all email correspondence.

We thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your prompt response is appreciated.


Robert L. Hunter, IV
Entertainment Software Association

Infringement Detail:
Infringing Work: Halo
First Found: 15 Nov 2004 05:05:58 EST (GMT -0500)
Last Found: 15 Nov 2004 05:05:58 EST (GMT -0500)
Filesize: 40,499k
IP Address:
IP Port: 49508
Network: LimeWire
Protocol: Gnutella

What are the legal alternatives to P2P?

  • Napster
  • iTunes
  • amazon MP3
  • AOL music
  • Rhapsody in Yahoo! music
  • Netflix
  • Hulu

For a complete list, go to:

Websites of interest: