Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions

Texas A&M University strongly discourages file sharing copyrighted material. Users who have committed unauthorized sharing or distribution of copyrighted files could be in violation of the university’s Employee or Student Rules for Responsible Computing. Furthermore, distributors may be violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).

Risks with P2P file sharing

In addition to legal issues, P2P file sharing can put your computer at risk.

  • Downloaded files often contain malware, which can infect users' computers with Trojans or worms.
  • To share files on your computer or access files on other computers within a P2P network, you generally must authorize access through your firewall. This exposes your system to potentially malicious traffic from the Internet that would otherwise be blocked by the firewall.
  • Inappropriate settings on your P2P file sharing application or misplacing a file in the wrong folder could also lead to the accidental exposure of your personal or confidential information.
  • Many downloadable P2P file-sharing programs automatically set up your computer to share files possibly without your knowledge.

NOTE: File sharing consumes a lot of bandwidth, which can slow campus network response time, especially in the residence halls.

What You Can Do?

Do not download copyrighted material if you don't have the owner's permission. If you have installed file-sharing programs on your computer, disable file sharing over the internet on these programs. If you must share files, create one folder for shared files and limit all file sharing to it.

Remove any illegally obtained copyrighted material from your computer and make sure there are no potentially infringing files in your shared folder. Use legitimate services for obtaining media.

If you do need to have open shares, protect both your machine and the campus network by doing the following:

  • Set up password protection for all shared file systems.
  • Configure shares on local system drives to allow access to specific individuals or groups.
  • If possible, only allow Read access to a share.
  • Scan all files before transferring them to your system.
  • Only transfer files from a well-known source.
  • Do not share material that is copyright protected.