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Providing relevant technology for University Housing

P2P File-sharing and Copyright Violations

University Housing would like to provide residents with information regarding P2P File-sharing and copyright violations. Our hope is to increase your awareness so that you may avoid potential sanctions.

The Current Situation:

Recently the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other similar organizations have been targeting users of University Networks for file-sharing. More information on this topic: Mysterious Multiplication of Copyright Complaints

How File sharing is Tracked:

These organizations look for specific network identification which allows them to trace file-sharing back to its source. On a network, each user is assigned an IP address in order to access the Internet. File sharing programs; such as BitTorrent create traffic on this assigned IP address which is recognized by the aforementioned organizations as belonging to a specific University. The companies create logs containing the IP Address, a time stamp, the type of program used, and the file being shared. This information is then traced back to Cal Poly. Each time a user logs on to the network, their Cal Poly UID is linked to an assigned IP address identifying the resident. More information on this topic: How It Does It: The RIAA Explains How It Catches Alleged Music Pirates.

What Happens Then:

The Cal Poly ITS Abuse Department on campus is contacted by these organizations and subsequently notifies ResNet. Each time a user logs on to the network, their Cal Poly UID is linked to an assigned IP address identifying the resident. Judicial proceedings for copyright and network violations are then initiated by University Housing against the identified resident and network access is restricted.

It is important to note that ResNet, University Housing and ITS do not actively search out these types of violations. The University and its staff are held legally responsible to act on all complaints. By law we are obligated to make users aware of the copyright violation, remove their network access, and make sure the infringing data is taken off the user's computer. By acting in accordance to the law the University and its residence are provided some insulation from being held financially accountable.

What It Could Cost:

If you were to receive a pre-litigation letter from the RIAA or similar organization the average settlement amount offered is about $3,000 or $750 for each alleged song shared depending on the number of alleged songs shared. Upon receiving the letters, you would have the option of paying the RIAA to avoid going to court and potentially facing higher penalties.  We urge all residents to be informed about the possible legal and financial consequences of violating copyright laws so that you can protect your interests.

What You Can do to Protect Yourself:

  • Become informed and knowledgeable about the subject. 
    (Please browse the menu to the left for more information on this subject.)
  • It is recommended that residents uninstall file sharing programs such as Ares, Limewire, BitTorrent, BearShare, and Kazaa
  • If you choose not to uninstall these programs be sure to take every measure not to share any copyright material that may lead to receiving a copyright violation

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