Baruch Computing and Technology Center (BCTC)

File Sharing and Copyright Infringement Advisory

Issued by the University Office of General Counsel, University CIO and the University Information Security Office (September 22, 2008)

File-sharing software continues to be a popular way to copy and distribute music, movies, games and software through the Internet.  If you use this software, you need to be aware that copying and distributing materials without permission of the owner can create both criminal and civil liability for you.  CUNY regularly receives and addresses notices pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Home Box Office (HBO), and other content owners notifying us that material located on CUNY networks allegedly violates copyright.  Additional information regarding the risks to you and CUNY’s obligations under the DMCA is available on the Office of the General Counsel website.   If you have any questions about these issues, send a message to: dmca@mail.cuny.edu

What are Peer-To-Peer & Filing-Sharing Programs?

 Peer-to-peer (P2P) and file sharing programs, if installed and enabled on your computer, allow digital media (e.g., music, movies, games) to be downloaded or uploaded between your computer and any other computer that also has these programs installed and enabled, and is also connected to the Internet.  Content owners and copyright watch groups monitor computers reported to contain volumes of unauthorized copies of digital media and track where these files are copied to elsewhere on the Internet.  If a content owner or watch group determines that an unauthorized copy of digital media was copied to a CUNY-connected computer, CUNY may receive a copyright infringement notice.  If the media is traced back to a computer connected to the Internet from your home, you may receive a copyright infringement notice. 

In addition, P2P and file-sharing programs can introduce a serious security risk to your computer and other computers connected to the same network (e.g., CUNY) since they may result in files infected with computer viruses and spy-ware being downloaded to your computer.  This could put your private information and your identity at risk.  Examples of P2P and file sharing programs include BitTorrent and LimeWire.

Controlling Peer-To-Peer & Filing-Sharing Programs

Did you know that many P2P and file-sharing programs will continue running in the background on your computer - uploading files to other people’s computers – even when the program’s window is closed and you think you’ve turned it off?  To stop this you need to disable the uploading function in the program, completely remove the program from your computer, or disconnect your computer from the network.  If you have questions about removing or disabling these types of programs from your computer, the following web sites may be helpful:

Disabling File Sharing Programs – University of California, Riverside

Disabling Peer-to-Peer File Sharing – University of Chicago

Removing File Sharing Programs – University of Delaware

What to Do About Your P2p Application – Duke University