Over the past couple of years the proliferation of peer-to-peer (P2P) programs such as KaZaA and LimeWire have made it extremely easy to share copyrighted material such as music, movies, computer programs, and the like with others without the permission of the copyright holder. We are writing to remind you that engaging in this type of activity, without an educational purpose for doing so, is a violation of copyright law and College policy, and can put you at significant financial risk.
As reported in the press, this past spring four university students were sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegally distributing music over P2P networks from their schools. Each student settled their lawsuit by agreeing to pay the RIAA between $12,000 and $17,500 in damages. Over the summer the RIAA issued over 200 subpoenas to Internet service providers, including numerous colleges and universities, seeking the names of people who they believe are sharing music files with others. In the last week, the RIAA has started filing lawsuits against these individuals.
Over the past few years Ithaca College has received numerous complaints from the RIAA, MPAA, Interactive Digital Software Association, and other groups about individuals on our campus who were engaged in sharing music, movies, and programs via KaZaA and similar programs. To date these organizations have asked only that we take down the infringing material and refer the individual for internal College sanctions. But we believe that, as stated above, there may be instances when these organizations will not be satisfied with the College handling the cases internally. Please be aware that Ithaca College will comply with legally issued subpoenas requesting the identity of users of the college's computer and network resources.
While KaZaA, LimeWire, and similar file sharing programs are not in themselves illegal, most uses of them are. As a member of the campus community you should not be making illegal use of these programs. If we receive notification of illegal file sharing activity from a particular device we will disconnect that device from our network, and the guardian of the device may be subject to additional sanction, including loss of network access for a period of time, judicial, or even legal action in addition to any action that the copyright holder or their representatives may choose to initiate.
So far the College has not received any subpoenas for the release of an individual's identity. Hopefully, with everyone's cooperation and awareness of the seriousness of these issues, we will not.
For more information I recommend that you visit the following sites:
General information on what is and is not legal: musicunited.org
Contributed by Nancy Pringle, VP and College Counsel, and Carl Sgrecci, VP for Finance and Admin.
Ithaca College computer and network use policy: All College Computer and Network Use Policy