University of Idaho network users should be aware that peer-to-peer (p2p) applications should only be used with extreme caution. This website is to inform file sharing users of these risks & steps to take to mitigate these risks.
- There is a risk of downloading copyrighted materials for which there can be severe legal ramifications. Federal law provides criminal penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and 5 years in prison for first time copyright offenders, even if no money changes hands during infraction.
- Network bandwidth abuse is a concern as most p2p applications use any and all available bandwidth, which can effectively slow all other intranet and Internet use to a crawl for both you and others on the network.
- Not getting the right file is a major concern. Illegal types of material such as child pornography are often distributed by renaming the file to a seemingly innocuous name.
- Spyware & viruses are often distributed in a similar fashion, either directly with installation of the software, or as a file available on the file sharing network. These can infect your computer, invade your privacy or can allow your computer to be used by others without your consent. They can be very difficult to remove.
- Producers of copyrighted music, movies, and TV shows are actively pursuing illegal downloaders on the UI campus.
- Computers found violating UI Policy may be removed from the network.
Federal law requires the university take action when it is notified someone on its network is distributing copyrighted materials. The university will not protect faculty, staff or students who distribute copyrighted material without a license. Most p2p programs by default have worldwide file sharing enabled. This means users can find themselves in serious trouble with the university and with copyright holders.
Sharing copyrighted materials without a license or permission from the copyright holder can subject the user and the university to legal sanctions. Most p2p programs automatically share files from the user’s disk to other users worldwide, unless specific configuration changes are made by the user to prevent this. Both bandwidth abuse and copyright abuse violate the University's Acceptable Use Policy.
If you are a p2p user or otherwise engaged in file sharing activities on the university’s network, you should consider removing the p2p applications from your system. If you choose not to remove these applications, you should immediately ensure your system is configured to not provide unlicensed materials to other users. If you have questions on how to uninstall p2p software, please contact your TSP or SysAd if you're an employee, or the STC if you're a student, for assistance.
Failure to restrict p2p applications appropriately can result in a copyright violation, which may result in a report being sent to University Human Resources Management, the Dean of Students or the Provost’s Office, as appropriate. Failure to remove copyrighted material when notified or repeated copyright violations will lead to disciplinary action within the university, including immediate network disconnection. Additionally, legal action may be taken against you by the holder of the copyright for the material that was found on your system.
If what you are downloading has value and you got it for free, there is a high probability copyright law was violated. Be safe and get your music from legal sources or under open licensing, like the Creative Commons License. Below is a list of popular commercial services for listening, watching, ordering or downloading music, movies or TV shows (this is neither an endorsement nor a complete list):