You may be making audio and video files available on your computer for uploading over the Internet without your knowledge through functionality built into file-sharing software on your computer.
To protect our campus community we urge you to cease all peer to peer sharing of files, to remove these files from your computer, defragment your computer and uninstall any peer to peer applications immediately.
What you should know about sharing files online:
Many members of the Albion College community have questions about their rights and responsibilities with respect to use of copyrighted material, particularly the sharing of music and movies in digital format over the Internet. Recent legal actions by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against violators of music copyright have made it imperative that everyone understand the risks of their behavior when sharing music and movies with others.
Federal Copyright Information
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material regardless of the format of that material. Copyright law is complicated and its interpretation is sometimes controversial.
Peer to Peer Programs (P2P)
Spurred on by the widespread use of the Internet, P2P programs have been developed to allow people to share information in digital formats. In particular, programs like BitTorrent, KaZaA, Gnutella, Morpheus, Limewire, AudioGalaxy and others are commonly used to share music and movies without regard to the restrictions placed on that material by the copyright owners. Most commercially produced music and movies are copyrighted and cannot be freely shared. This is the law.
Albion does not examine the information content that is being transmitted (e.g. the music itself) but does monitor the type of information (e.g., that is an MP3 file) in order for us to give priority to academic uses of our network. Members of our community must follow college-defined policies for appropriate use of technology resources.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
The DMCA specifies procedures that Albion College, as your Internet Service Provider, must follow when notified that an individual is using our network and violating copyright laws. If the copyright holder contacts Albion about a violation we will stop network access for the individual, notify him/her of the notice we have received, and require removal of the offending material from his/her computer. The individual has the right to claim that the material is not protected by copyright and then a legal process begins. To date, every notice we have received has resulted in the offending material being removed.
The details about the DMCA procedures can be found at the library copyright web site.
Some people have argued that the recording industry has been overcharging for music CDs and that music sharing is justified. Others feel that the recording industry has been too slow to adopt legal ways for music to be distributed over the Internet at lower cost. Regardless, most music and movie-sharing violates the law that we are bound to uphold. If you distribute copyrighted music and videos you are putting yourself at risk of losing computing privileges, being charged by the Albion College judicial board, and facing prosecution under civil and criminal laws.