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File Sharing Information

To: All Students, All Staff, All Faculty

Subject: Beware of sharing of audio and video material on Augustana College's network and the internet

As you may have read in the news, or seen reports elsewhere, the recording and textbook industry increasingly monitors the sharing of files on the internet. We write to remind you of the possible consequences of using your computer to acquire or share music recordings and videos.

Our simple advice is this:
Avoid accessing, downloading, or sharing music, video, or electronic textbook files over the internet unless you are have received explicit permission from the copyright holder to do so, or have paid an access or license fee to obtain the recordings. In most cases, the copyright holder is the original publisher, producer, or artist(s) of a song, album, textbook, or film. If you are looking for applications to use to obtain legal copies please use:

The unauthorized copying and sharing of copyrighted material, without permission, is illegal; indeed it is a federal crime. Unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities.

Because of the way file sharing software works, you are not anonymous on the internet. You may not even be aware that you are sharing files unless you are familiar with the setup of this software. Computers can be identified by internet addresses and file sharing can be detected by copyright holders.

When a computer at Augustana is so identified by an outside agency and a copyright violation reported to the College, action will be taken to block your computer connection to the internet. Though this action may appear harsh:

  • This is for your protection to reduce continued exposure.
  • The College is obligated to take action under federal law.
  • We will promptly notify you via email and/or voice mail that a complaint has been received.
  • Your connection will be restored once any inappropriate files or software are removed.

Some file sharing is perfectly legitimate. Some performing artists make their recordings available over the internet without restriction. New services exist to pay monthly or per-song fees to download music.

The possibility of legal action is real if you acquire and share copyrighted material from the internet without appropriate permission. Students at Princeton University, Michigan Tech., and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute were sued $150,000 for each song they were sharing. Each student settled out of court with payments between $12,000 and $17,000. Viruses can spread by file sharing programs (Bit torrent, etc). Numerous Augustana students have received viruses through file sharing.

Enforcement

Please understand that while ITS does not actively police or monitor computers or networks in search of illicit or inappropriate activities, Augustana considers violations of acceptable use principles to be serious offenses. We hope that all members of our community will act in a proper and responsible manner. However, if illegal or inappropriate activities are brought to our attention, we are obligated to investigate and act, including disciplinary actions taken against the students and cooperating with legal authorities, if necessary.

The college will take necessary action to copy and examine any files or information allegedly related to unacceptable use on our systems and to protect our network from systems and events that threaten or degrade operations.

In the case of minor infractions, ITS will attempt to contact the offending party via email, telephone or in person to explain the problem and discuss its resolution. Blatant violations or repeated offenses will be referred to the appropriate college department for discipline.

In the case of major infractions, for example, those that impair others' ability to use networking and computing resources, ITS may restrict systems or network access as we deem necessary to mitigate such activities. Only thereafter will ITS make a reasonable effort to contact the involved parties.

If you have any questions about Internet file sharing or how to remove file sharing applications, please email the ITS Helpdesk: helpdesk@augustana.edu.

ITS