Copyright and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
Copyright and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements
Peer-to-peer (P2P): A method of distributing files over a network where all computers are treated as equals (in contrast to a client/server architecture). Using P2P software, a client can receive files from another client. Some P2P file distribution systems require a centralized database of available files (Napster), while other distribution systems are decentralized. These networks can be used to illegally share copyrighted material like movies and music. They can also be used in a positive way to allow users to share files and resources without the need for a centralized server.
H.R. 4137, The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) is designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Blue Ridge Community College will comply with HEOA in the following manner:
BRCC views awareness as a very important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. The Division of Technology and Development uses a wide variety of methods to inform the faculty, staff, and students of the law and the response of BRCC to copyright infringement.
- All members of the BRCC community must comply with the Computer Use Policy that includes a section on copyright compliance and P2P file sharing.
- BRCC includes the computer use policy in our Student Handbook, Student Catalog, Faculty Handbook, Policies and Procedures Manual, and the College Web page.
- Notices of acceptable computer use and compliance with copyright laws are posted in student computer labs and elsewhere to discourage illegal file sharing.
- The Division of Technology and Development support staff, including student workers, is regularly trained on College policies regarding copyright issues.
- Periodically, all employees and students will receive an e-mail regarding copyright infringement and related issues.
College Plan to Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
The College monitors bandwidth use on its computer networks. Internet usage as well as the downloading of files is heavily monitored and logged. Any infraction of the peer-to-peer policy will be assessed and reviewed to determine if a violation of copyright material has occurred. Users who violate stated policies in the College Computer Use Policy (8.1.3) will be subject to the consequences defined in the Student Misconduct Policy (4.15.1) or the Employee Disciplinary Action Policy (3.10.1) and to federal authorities responsible for copyright violations. Penalties for repeat offenders will result in loss of network access, and could result in fines, suspension, expulsion, or termination.
Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing
Educause, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, maintains a comprehensive list of Legal Downloading Resources. BRCC encourages members of the campus community to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.
Periodic Review of Plan and Assessment Criteria
- The Vice President for Technology and Development, Chief Information Officer, and Vice President for Student Services will do an annual review of the number and severity of peer-to-peer violations during the past year. They will determine if changes in disciplinary procedures or educational materials are needed.
- Information Technology staff, under the direction of the Chief Information Officer, will review technical deterrents annually to determine if these deterrents remain effective in limiting undesirable traffic.