• File Sharing

Suffolk University does not condone or approve of any illegal or inappropriate use of material in any medium as dictated by federal and state laws, and/or University policies.

Peer-to peer-file sharing

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing technology allows users to make files available for other users to download and use. File sharers store files on their computers and the file-sharing software enables other users to download the files onto their computers. Examples of P2P file sharing networks include KaZaA, Gnutella, and FreeNet, among others.

How you use P2P software may violate federal copyright law and University Policy. If you use P2P software, you may receive notices of copyright infringement and or be subject to other legal action.

P2P file sharing can violate University policy

Suffolk University prohibits the use of any computer network to violate copyright law, and forbids activity that threatens the security of the University networks and computing environment. These prohibitions extend to any computers you connect to the Suffolk network, whether at home or elsewhere off campus.

P2P software can undermine network security and expose your computer to threats, such as viruses, malware, password and identity theft, spyware, and other threats that can incapacitate computers.

P2P file-sharing software can also impede legitimate Suffolk University network traffic at busy times of the day.

P2P file sharing can be illegal

Using P2P file-sharing software that copies and distributes music, videos, software, games, or other copyrighted works without permission of the copyright holder is a violation of US copyright law. If you have P2P file-sharing applications installed on your computer, you may be sharing copyrighted works illegally without even realizing it. Even if you do not intend to engage in infringing activity, installing P2P software on a computer can easily end up sharing unintended files (copyrighted music or even sensitive documents) with other P2P users, and you may then be personally responsible for the legal and financial consequences of illegal file sharing on your computer.

Content owners, such as the recording industry, movie studios, and game and software companies, are specifically targeting illegal file sharing on university networks. The RIAA has employed aggressive legal strategies to address illegal file sharing, such as forwarding the University “early settlement letters” for alleged infringers and filing infringement lawsuits. Since September 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed suits against more than 20,000 individuals using P2P software worldwide, and Suffolk University students have been among those threatened with lawsuits.

How you use P2P software may violate federal copyright law and University Policy. If you use P2P software, you may receive notices of copyright infringement and or be subject to other legal action.

The consequences of illegal file sharing can be serious:

  • The University can and will impose disciplinary action.
  • Civil penalties can be devastating. You can be held liable for actual or statutory damages—as much as $150,000 or more per infringement.
  • On top of civil actions, criminal penalties could include up to ten years imprisonment depending on the nature of the violation.
  • Your computer could become infected with viruses, spyware, bots and other malware that destroy your data and infect others.
  • Other people could copy files that you did not intend to share.
  • Your identity could be compromised or stolen.

Portions of this page are based on web documentation produced by Yale University and are used with permission.