Many people see unauthorized music downloading as harmless and don't fully understand its consequences. Illegal downloading presents a serious issue on college campuses and can be costly to the university administration in terms of resources, such as excessive use of bandwidth and time spent responding to infringement notices sent by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). The RIAA is very active in enforcing DCMA for their clients, and UC assists in the enforcement of these complaints. For more information on how the RIAA works with Universities, go to the FAQ's on the RIAA site. Considerable progress has been made in the growth of legitimate music services, the adoption of technological measures and education and enforcement programs on campuses. Use of legitimate services on campus has grown exponentially. Nearly 130 universities offer their students access to a legal music service and a substantial increase of additional schools joining this list is expected in the coming months.
P2P technology enables millions of computer users around the world to find and trade digital files with each other. By using a P2P computer program, a user can scan the hard drives of millions of people and instantly acquire (download) content with the click of a mouse. At the same time, that user can enable the millions of people on the P2P network to copy the contents of his or her hard drive. Unlike email or instant messaging, P2P enables the transfer of billions of files among millions of people without knowledge of identity or even location. It is, essentially, a massive listing and public warehouse of digital content.
While P2P technology itself can be used for legitimate purposes, the predominant – indeed, almost exclusive – use of P2P networks has been to trade copyrighted music, movies, pictures and software. From a legal standpoint, this activity violates copyright holders´ exclusive rights to copy and distribute their works. From a practical standpoint, this activity threatens the entertainment industry´s ability to succeed in the evolving digital marketplace. Such higher transfer speeds are already present on many university networks.
Response to illegal P2P file-sharing generally takes the form of awareness, education, enforcement, implementation of technological measures, and adoption of legitimate online content services. Suggestions include the following:
In addition, administrators should be aware that students often establish internal file-sharing systems on their schools´ local area networks (or "LANs"), enabling students to trade copyrighted files without accessing the public Internet. This activity, while limited to the school´ own systems, is no less illegal and presents many of the same problems as larger P2P systems.
In December 2005, Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee Cary Sherman (President, Recording Industry Association of America) and Graham Spanier (President, Pennsylvania State University) wrote an op-ed piece published in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled "Thou Shalt Not Pirate Thy Neighbor’s Songs."
UC Student Handbook, Computer and Network section - talks about the University's stance on P2P networks and policies.