This policy intends to make it clear that P2P architecture, itself, is not in question. What is a concern, however, is one of the most prevalent uses of this technology, P2P File Sharing applications used for the distribution of copyrighted content. Morpheus, KaZaA, Aimster, Madster, AudioGalaxy and Gnutella, are examples of the kinds of P2P File Sharing software which can be used inappropriately to share copyrighted content. Note, that some of these applications are not pure peer-too-peer architectures, further reinforcing that the issues with File Sharing applications have more to do with risk of abuses, than in the technology itself. Along with copyright infringement, other concerns of P2P File Sharing applications include network resource utilization, security, and inappropriate content. For a more in-depth definition of peer-to-peer and the various types (hybrid vs. pure) and peer-to-peer's relationship with distributed networks, please refer to the footnotes. 2
For the purposes of this policy, a Peer-to-peer file sharing application is any application that transforms a personal computer into a server that distributes data simultaneously to other computers.
Those who obtain or distribute copyrighted material should be aware that if found liable for copyright infringement, the penalties can be severe, depending upon the amount and the willfulness of the infringing activity. In a civil lawsuit, one found liable for copyright infringement can be ordered to pay damages of as much as $30,000 per copyrighted work infringed. This penalty can be increased to $150,000 per infringed work in cases of particularly flagrant infringement. In the most serious and widespread cases of copyright infringement, criminal prosecution is possible.
Additionally, students, faculty and staff who may be in violation of copyright law place not only themselves at risk - they may be exposing Mississippi Valley State University to liability as an institution, for contributory or vicarious infringement, e.g., using the University network resources to obtain the material and/or to store the material on University computers and/or servers (see Appendix A for a sample letter sent by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to Fortune 1000 companies).
First, running an unauthorized server from a university building is a violation of the Mississippi Valley State University Network Use Policy.
Also, when a user's computer is acting as a server, it can place an enormous burden on MVSU's network(s). If the computer/server is popular and does excessive, high-volume transfers of files, this single computer/server can severely impact the performance of MVSU's network.
Transferring large movie or music files may overload the network and degrade services. Transferring large files can slow the network making it less responsive or even unavailable to users*. Excessive network traffic can be generated, adversely affecting performance for other users*. policy and may result in termination of access to the University network services, and other disciplinary action. In addition, P2P traffic-along with the various worms that infect the Windows OS – consume a huge proportion of network bandwidth. Left unchecked, legitimate users are left with useless connections.
MVSU routinely monitors network usage patterns. Interfering with the ability of others to use the network services violates University
MVSU has placed into effect a limit of 1 megabit per second (Mbps) on the inbound and outbound traffic generated by Peer-to-Peer file-sharing applications. For comparison purposes, the outside Internet connection for the University is 15Mbps between 7AM and 10PM and 25 Mbps between 10PM and 7AM (that bandwidth is used for both incoming and outgoing connections).
This restriction is necessary to support the primary usage of the network: academic and enterprise computing. The data network must be available for MVSU's students, faculty, and staff to use for academic research and essential daily operations. While IMT does have the option to entirely shut off access to Peer-to-Peer applications, that option is not currently being exercised.
MVSU realizes this can result in the delay of downloading files from the internet; however, Peer-to-Peer applications are an incredible consumer of bandwidth and will take as much bandwidth as available, constricting available bandwidth for other applications.
If an artist, author, publisher, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or a law enforcement agency notifies the University that a Faculty/Staff member or Student is violating copyright laws, MVSU will provide to the relevant offices within the University information in the form of Internet Protocol (IP) address information and any information from logs to assist in the investigation of the complaint. If appropriate, action will be taken against the violator in accordance with University policy. In some cases, violations of University policy can result in suspension or revocation of network access privileges without refund of network access fees and/or civil or criminal prosecution under state and federal statutes.
Appeal can be made through the Office of Vice President of Student Affairs.
"Your computer network and resources are being used to illegally distribute copyrighted music on the internet. We strongly urge you to take immediate steps to prevent the continued infringement of our members' sound recordings on your corporate network. These acts of infringement could expose your employees and your company to significant legal damages."4
PDF DocumentInformation Technology Peer-To-Peer File Sharing Policy