Student Life & Services

LIM College Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy

LIM College does not allow the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material. LIM College expects each member of the community to use LIM College's information technology resources responsibly, ethically, and in compliance with the Policy, relevant laws, and all contractual obligations to third parties. The holders of copyright possess the exclusive right to authorize reproduction and distribution, which all faculty, students, and employees must adhere to.

The use of LIM College's information technology resources is a privilege. If a member of the community fails to comply with this Policy or relevant laws and contractual obligations, that member's privilege to access and use LIM College's information technology resources may be revoked.

LIM College will attempt to further enforce this policy by utilizing next-generation technologies and firewalls as means of enhanced security through application, network, and system visibility and access control.

A list of these technologies is outlined in: Appendix - LIM P2P Policy 2010. Browse the sections of the appendix below, or download the entire document.

LIM College does not allow the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material.

These technologies include:

1. Palo Alto Network device – This is a next-generation firewall that brings visibility and control over applications, users, and content. (Application Visibility and Risk Report available at any time)

2. Cisco ASA Firewall – This firewall provides authenticate traffic to traverse in and outbound of LIM College network and systems.

3. Finjan proxy sever – This internet policy and scanning engine does not allow internet traffic that will violate any P2P copyright laws.

4. Switching technologies –

     a. LIM College incorporates Port Security that does not allow ad hoc computer devices (laptop or desktop) to be plugged into the network.

     b. The use of segmentation allows for traffic to be filtered via access list and data cannot traverse the network without rules.

5. Windows group policies lock down – Users are not allowed to run any EXECUTABLES (.exe) without the proper authenticated white listing of that executable using Windows Group Policies. This makes it very difficult to install or run P2P applications that will violate copyright laws.

History and Definition of P2P

Campus computer networks are often notoriously used to reproduce and distribute copyrighted music, movies, television shows, pictures, and software through the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. P2P file sharing applications allow a computer to connect to a P2P network, and once connected, make it possible to download and share files with other users on the network. P2P networking has been around for many years, but file sharing applications such as LimeWire, KaZaA and BitTorrent have made it easy to trade files with people around the world. Beginning in April 2003 when members of the Recording Industry Association of America filed civil suits against students at Michigan Tech, Princeton University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seeking substantial damages for copyright infringement, there has been an increasing level of attention to violators of copyright laws. (Those cases were quickly settled, with each of the student defendants agreeing to pay more than $12,000 in damages.) Since then, there has been increasing pressure on universities to take action against copyright violations, especially those attributable to P2P.

If/when LIM College receives a complaint from a copyright holder, LIM College will notify the individual involved and pass along any information received from the copyright holder to that individual. We do not supply any information to the copyright holder about the individual involved unless a valid subpoena is presented.

This document will also answer some frequently asked questions about the application of the Copyright Law to peer-to-peer file sharing.

Are peer-to-peer file-sharing systems illegal?
LIM College bans P2P programs from its network and systems ENTIRELY. It is that type of activity that generally violates the Copyright Law.

What kinds of activities are probable violations of the Copyright Law?
Any of the following activities, if done without permission of the copyright owner:

  • Copying and sharing images, music, movies, television shows or other copyrighted material through the use of P2P technology
  • Purchasing a CD or DVD and then making copies for others
  • Posting or plagiarizing copyrighted material on your personal Web space
  • Downloading anything of which you don't already own a copy (software, MP3s, movies, television shows, etc.).

Copyright Law applies to a wide variety of works, and covers much more than is listed above. If you're in doubt about a particular work, assume that it is copyrighted!

What does LIM College policy say about copyright infringement?
LIM College does not allow the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material. LIM College expects each member of the community to use LIM College's information technology resources, including connections to resources external to LIM College that are made possible by LIM College's information technology resources, responsibly, ethically, and in compliance with the Policy, relevant laws, and all contractual obligations to third parties. The holders of copyright possess the exclusive right to authorize reproduction and distribution which all faculty, students, and employees must adhere to.

The use of LIM College's information technology resources is a privilege. If a member of the community fails to comply with this Policy or relevant laws and contractual obligations, that member's privilege to access and use LIM College's information technology resources may be revoked.

LIM College will attempt to further enforce this polity by utilizing next-generation technologies and firewalls as means of enhanced security through application, network, and system visibility and access control.

Are MP3s illegal?
Some MP3s can be legally obtained through online subscription services (see the FAQ below) or from sites officially permitted by the copyright holders to offer certain MP3 downloads. Some are copyright-free. Most MP3s don't fall into either category.

MP3 files are completely legal, but it's illegal to make or distribute MP3s of music recordings that you don't already own, or which you haven't obtained permission to reproduce from the copyright owner.

In almost all cases, sharing MP3s over the campus network is also illegal.

United States Copyright Law allows you to create MP3s only for your personal use and only of songs to which you already have rights. You can make MP3s only of songs for which you already own the CD or tape. And personal use means for you alone - you can't make copies and give or sell them to other people.

How could I get caught if I violate Copyright Law or LIM College policy?
LIM College’s system locks and monitors all traffic in and outbound it gateways. New web-based port 80 traffic will be filtered and blocked via access controls as they become available.

Organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) or BayTSP (representing movie and television studios, among others) frequently police file-sharing programs for copyrighted material belonging to the artists/studios they represent.

Some students are under the impression that their activity on the Internet is largely anonymous or untraceable, but this is untrue. In fact, almost all your activity on the Internet is logged on many of the computer systems you use, and while these logs usually are not inspected, they certainly can be used to confirm or implicate you in illegal activity.

How does LIM College get notified about violations and are all notifications the same?
A take down notice is a communication that asks the College to notify an individual to stop sharing copyrighted materials.

A preservation notice alerts the College to a forthcoming subpoena that may be served. The subpoena asks the College to provide identifying information about a user of our network who has infringed copyrighted materials. Sometimes, following the preservation notice and prior to the subpoena, an early settlement letter is sent to the College from the copyright holder asking that it be forwarded to the individual infringing on the copyright. This allows the individual to work with the copyright holder to resolve the dispute before going through the legal system.

What will happen if I get caught?
Violation of the Copyright Law can have serious consequences:

  1. College Disciplinary Action: Copyright infringement can subject a student to disciplinary action under the Code of Conduct, since violation of law or College policy is grounds for discipline. Any offense will be brought up via the Disciplinary Hearing Board.
  2. Civil Liability: Persons found to have infringed may be held liable for substantial damages and attorney fees. The law entitles a plaintiff to seek statutory damages of $150,000 for each act of willful infringement. In the cases filed by the RIAA against students at Princeton, RPI, and Michigan Tech, the recording industry sued for damages of $150,000 for each recording infringed.
  3. Criminal Liability: Copyright infringement also carries criminal penalties under the federal “No Electronic Theft Act.” Depending on the number and value of the products exchanged, penalties for a first offense may be as high as three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. LIM College is not the police. However, LIM College will cooperate with law enforcement agencies when required.

But if everyone breaks the rules, how can you punish just one person?
Just because the government, or a company that sues you, cannot administer punishments equally does not mean that they cannot administer them at all. As with speeding tickets, "everyone else was doing it" will not satisfy an enforcement officer or provide an excuse for illegal behavior.

Pleading ignorance of these rules or the applicable laws is also equally useless in an enforcement situation, so educate yourself before you decide to break the law.

You should recognize that violating the Copyright Law or LIM College’s policies concerning copyright are significant risks that you may regret.

How can I obtain digital music and movie files legally?
Some music, movies and television shows can be legally obtained through online subscription services or from sites officially permitted by the copyright holders to offer certain downloads. Some of the “pay for play" services from which these files can be legally obtained are listed below.

Music
• Apple iTunes Music Store
• Rhapsody
• eMusic
• MP3.com

Movies/TV
• AtomFilms
• CinemaNow
• MovieFlix
• NetFlix

What is fair use?
You may have heard of “fair use.” It is discussed in the Copyright Act. Fair use is a concept that allows use of limited portions of a copyrighted work, without the permission of the copyright owner, for purposes such as scholarship, research, and criticism. Fair use does not mean that if you think it's fair that you should be able to use a work it's o.k. Rather, whether a particular use of copyrighted material is a fair use must be judged according to the four criteria in the Copyright Act:

  1. Purpose and character of the use (Why do you want to use it?)
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work (What kind of work is it?)
  3. Amount and substantiality used (How much do you want to copy?)
  4. Effect on the potential market for or value of the work (Will your copying contribute to decreasing the value or demand for the work?)

Unfortunately, the four factors listed above do not always provide very clear guidance. Fair use must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Fair use can be tricky to define, so here are some links that do a reasonably good job of explaining it.

How can I get more information if I still have questions about copyright?
If you still have questions about copyright and use of LIM College system resources, you can send them to copyright.complaints@limcollege.edu or access the following resources:



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