What's Wrong With Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing?
What is Copyrighted Content?
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- computer software
You can share the lecture notes you wrote in class with a friend, but sharing content that is not your own without the permission of the owner can get you into a lot of legal trouble.
The most commonly known copyright infringement practice is through peer-to-peer (P2P) software because these programs typically do not have authorization to be sharing copyrighted materials. They allow you to choose what files you are allowing others to download without requiring permission to share those files.
Sharing materials through these programs is a violation of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998-DMCA.
For answers to commonly asked questions about P2P software, see the “What You Can Do” section on Texas A&M University's Information Security page on Digital File Sharing.
How Bad Can It Be?
Not only will you be violating our Acceptable Use and Peer-to-Peer Sharing Software Use policies, you will be violating federal law. If you are sharing files or even appear to be sharing files, you could be facing:
- civil charges for actual damages or lost profits or,
for statutory damages, up to $150,000 for each of their copyrighted works
- civil penalties can run into many thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees.
The minimum penalty is $750 per song
- criminal charges and penalties ranging up to a $250,000 fine
and up to five years imprisonment for the first offense
- up to a $1,000,000 fine
or up to 10 years imprisonment for subsequent offenses
More information can be found at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) "What is Online Piracy?".
How Do I Download Content Legally?
There are actually quite a lot of places where you can download content legally. A number of lists are updated periodically, including movies and TV shows and music.
Tarleton State University is a strong proponent of copyright law and other protections for intellectual property rights. We depend on such laws to protect the fruits of our research and teaching activities.
Tarleton actively supports awareness about copyright and cooperates with copyright holders who believe that illegal distribution is occurring on our university networks. Unfortunately, the university still receives notices from copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) who actively search for illegal file sharing of music or other copyrighted material.
Please use the resources below responsibly.