p2pPeer to Peer (P2P) file sharing is a way of exchanging or transferring files over Internet. File sharing involves using technology that allows internet users to share files that are housed on their individual computers.

While P2P file-sharing is fairly generic technology and can be used for legitimate reasons, it is overwhelmingly used for illegally distributing copyrighted works such as music (MP3) or movie files, software, TV programs, books and images without permission from the copyright owner.

If you are using P2P sharing you need to be aware that such networks are notorius for distributing malware: viruses, worms, trojans, spyware and adware. You can never trust a file downloaded via P2P. In most of the cases you will download a malicious file tagging along with the file you intended to get.

The majority of the files shared via Internet are copyrighted works. Moreover, transferring of a file from one person to another results in a reproduction, a distribution, and potentially a public performance of copyrighted material. Using P2P file-sharing technology inevitably leads to violating copyright law.

Marshall University, faculty, students and staff are required to follow Copyright and Intellectual Property policies and adhere to the guidelines for producing, using and sharing creative or educational works.

University Computing Services conservatively estimates each violation/complaint received from the RIAA costs 1 to 2 hours of staff time to research, and hundreds of complaints have been received thus far this academic year, from the RIAA alone.” (Marshall University Copyright Infringement Complaints Procedure, April 2007.)

The openness of the P2P technologies can also lead to data breaches when unprotected systems leave information accessible to anyone connected to the peer-to-peer networks. eSchool News recently reported that Federal Trade Commission warned schools, colleges, and businesses to be aware of this threat in the article “Schools fall victim to P2P security breaches.”

Please visit links below for the full text of MU Copyright policies and procedures and more information on illegal downloading:
Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
Marshall University Comprehensive Copyright Procedure
Copyright Infringement Complaints Procedure
MU Copyright Education web site