In recent years, use of Internet file sharing services like KaZaA, Grokster, LimeWire, iMesh, BitTorrent, eDonkey, and others has risen exponentially. These P2P (peer-to-peer) software applications allow users to access and download files from other PCs via the Internet and also make files on their computers available to other users. While these services can be used legitimately to share files, there are a number of issues associated with their use:

  • Downloading or distributing copyrighted material such as music, movies, books, TV shows, videos, documents, etc. without permission from the rightful owner is a violation of the United States Copyright Act and AIC’s Acceptable Use Policy.
  • P2P services consume large amounts of network bandwidth. This non-academic use slows the campus network, interferes with access to academic resources, and adds significantly to network cost.
  • Confidential files can be inadvertently shared with other users of the software.
  • Many of these programs come bundled with “spyware” or “adware” applications that allow marketers to track your online behavior and deliver targeted advertising based on your use.
  • Some shared files may have viruses, worms or trojans attached that can affect your computer's performance or destroy the contents of your hard drive.

P2P software programs are frequently used to obtain or share copyrighted material in the form of music, television programming, and movies. Penalties for copyright infringement can be severe, depending on the severity of the infraction but can easily range from $30,000-$150,000 per work infringed. In very serious cases, criminal prosecution is also possible. As the provider of your on-campus Internet service, AIC is required to provide your name, address, network address, and any other information requested by law enforcement authorities should an infringement be identified. AIC will obey all laws and honor all legitimate warrants, subpoenas, and court orders related to copyright infringement.

The use of P2P programs to obtain or share copyrighted material is a violation of federal law and of the College's Acceptable Use Policy. In additional to the potential legal penalties discussed above, violators of this policy will be subject to sanctions which may vary from a written warning to expulsion/dismissal depending on the severity of the infraction.