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spacer spacer P2P/File Sharing Networks

The campus network is a community resource that is used by over 3,000 people on a daily basis. In order to keep the network operating efficiently the IT Group asks that students living on campus limit their peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing activities to academic applications, and respect others by using P2P networks in a responsible manner.

P2P networks increase the chances that a virus or spyware, also known as malicious software, will make it on to the campus network; and they can be a drain on network resources. By default, many free P2P software applications enable your computer to share files to the Internet without your approval, or they will require you to enable file sharing to the Internet if you wish to download files. Regardless of which P2P network you use, your system may exhibit performance problems, you might share files you wish to keep private, or you might violate copyright law; which is also a violation of the College CNUP.

The campus computer network needs to be accessible to everyone on campus, and that means asking you to do your part; please be aware of the resources you are using and how your network use affects everyone else.

P2P Basics

What is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Network?

Peer to peer (P2P) file sharing networks have been around since at least 1979, but became popular with a wide variety of people when the music sharing network "Napster" hit the Internet in 1999. While Napster made file sharing appealing to the average computer user it also gave universities and colleges a few issues they have to pay particular attention to, such as bandwidth use and copyright violations.

It is important to remember that the campus network is a shared resource. During the school year there are approximately 2,500 on campus students and 800 faculty and staff connected to and using the network every day. Students, faculty and staff share 75 Mbps (Mega-bits per second) of outgoing bandwidth for the entire campus. Using a P2P network on campus makes the 75 Mbps of campus network bandwidth available for the P2P network. One person using a P2P on the second floor of Holloway, for example, could slow down the network connections of everyone on the second floor.

How does my computer act like a server?

The software for each P2P network is a little different, but basically when you join a P2P you give anyone else on the network permission to access your files. If someone can access your computer from a remote location and download your files then you are running a server. So you should use P2P software and networks with caution. Most P2P software lets you customize which files will be open to the network. Take some time and look through the software's tutorials and Help file to learn about the network you're using and how to keep your files private.

Which files can I share?

If you've created the material that's contained in a file, whether it's some open source software or a 10-page word document on why Pocky is the king of all candy, then the file is probably safe to share. If someone else has created the material contained in a file you're probably violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by sharing the files over a P2P network. Keene State College does not endorse the unauthorized sharing of files that are protected by copyright law.

Who would ever catch me sharing a copyright protected file?

Copyright violations have been bought to our attention through complaints from the Recording Industries and Motion Picture associations of America. If a campus IP address, which is the address that identifies your computer to the network, shows up as being involved in a copyright violation a complaint is issued to KSC and the College is required to stop the illegal copyright activity. It is not our policy to release the identity of a system owner or the system location to an outside party. Copyright violations are also considered a violation of the Computer and Network Use Policy (CNUP), and faculty, staff and students are required to follow the DMCA violation procedure.

Arguments for and against current copyright law:

Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Campus Guide to Copyright Compliance
Recording Industry vs. The People

Updated: August 18, 2009 KSC Photos on SmugMug Subscribe to the KSC RSS news feed Keene State on Facebook Keene State on Twitter Keene State on YouTube

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