The University of North Florida provides its faculty, students and staff with electronic resources to support and advance UNF’s prime focus on instruction, informed by scholarly activity, and a commitment to community involvement; and to conduct UNF’s business operations. Technologies, namely "peer-to-peer" file sharing applications, have made it easy for Internet users to share files with one another. While file sharing via peer-to-peer applications is popular, many of the files that people share contain copyrighted material. It is against the law to share copyrighted material unless you have the explicit permission of the copyright holder. In providing electronic resources, UNF also encourages appropriate use of the Internet with respect to digital copyright. As a result, it should be noted that UNF policies prohibit (a) the illegal downloading of copyrighted music, movies, games and software and (b) the installation and use of peer-to-peer file sharing applications. For more information on policies and procedures regarding the use of technology by students at UNF, please visit the Information Technology Services website.
Bandwidth refers to how much data you can send through a network or modem connection. It is usually measured in bits per second, or "bps." You can think of bandwidth as a highway with cars traveling on it. The highway is the network connection and the cars are the data. The wider the highway, the more cars can travel on it at one time. Therefore more cars can get to their destinations faster. It's the same principle with computer data -- the more bandwidth, the more information that can be transferred at one time.
While using the Internet, you are using bandwidth to transfer data. Bandwidth is counted for both uploads and downloads. Abusing bandwidth refers to an individual taking up a larger share of the highway than they should.
When students on the residence hall network are sharing lots of music and movie files, especially by way of peer-to-peer networks, the speed of the network decreases for everyone. When bandwidth use rises, so do bandwidth costs. Increasing costs can lead to higher housing contract fees. Many people exceed bandwidth quotas because they are sharing copyrighted material without permission. Copyright violation is against the law and you may be prosecuted.
In a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network, the "peers" are computer systems which are connected to each other via the Internet. Files can be shared directly between systems on the network without the need of a central server. In other words, each computer on a P2P network becomes a file server as well as a client.
The only requirements for a computer to join a peer-to-peer network are an Internet connection and P2P software. Common P2P software programs include Kazaa, Limewire, BearShare, Morpheus, and Acquisition. These programs connect to a P2P network, such as "Gnutella," which allows the computer to access thousands of other systems on the network.
Once connected to the network, P2P software allows you to search for files on other people's computers. Meanwhile, other users on the network can search for files on your computer, but typically only within a single folder that you have designated to share. While P2P networking makes file sharing easy and convenient, is also has led to a lot of software piracy and illegal music downloads. Therefore, it is best to be on the safe side and only download software and music from legitimate websites.
It has become popular practice to download movies, music, games and software files from P2P networks at no financial cost. However, this violates both copyright and criminal law. According to the music and movie industries, the majority of the offenders are college students using their college internet service.
UNF’s Computer and Network Use Policy explicitly prohibits individuals from using its computer systems and networks to violate copyright law. It is important for all users of UNF's systems to understand their responsibilities and UNF's obligations regarding copyright.
Unless you are the copyright holder or have express permission to share someone else's copyrighted works, you are almost certainly violating someone's copyrights if you upload or download copyrighted works via a P2P network. While there are some circumstances in which unauthorized sharing may be lawful, sharing songs instead of purchasing them is clearly unlawful.
A number of websites are legally authorized to sell digital content and/or subscription services to customers. Services such as iTunes, Napster and MusicMatch are convenient and affordable ways to get your music over the Internet.
Most file sharing takes place on computers owned by individuals. UNF does not have the authority to unilaterally remove these applications from personal computers. Moreover, there are many legitimate and lawful uses for these applications, for instance in research, teaching, and scholarship.
A number of P2P providers exist on the Internet, some legitimate, some not. Individuals who download music or videos from these sites may be exposed to the software that enables file sharing. In order to avoid sharing, the individual must know how to "turn off" that feature. The University of Chicago website mentioned above does a very good job of explaining how to disable such file sharing.
UNF requires all campus residents to install a policy key the first time they connect to the Internet. This key looks for peer-to-peer applications, and if found, quarantines the computer.
Students who refuse to accept the policy key, or are caught file sharing, are unable to connect to any off-campus Web sites. For these students, www.unf.edu is the only online site available. This leaves sites like myWings unavailable for students without the policy key.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been actively and very publicly asserting the rights of artists in the music industry. As a college student, you need to appreciate the fact that you are the current focus of the RIAA’s litigation efforts.
The latest efforts of the RIAA involve pre-litigation settlement letters. Such letters offer students the option to settle copyright-infringement claims out-of-court before the RIAA sues them. Some reports state that the RIAA charges a student approximately $700 per downloadand that the average settlement has cost a given student $3,500. As you can see, the RIAA is quite serious about its anti-piracy efforts.
If you have not yet been contacted by the RIAA, it is entirely up to each individual what programs and files they keep on their computers – provided they comply with UNF policies and procedures.
If, however, the RIAA has already contacted you, deleting or destroying files and information on your computer could be a violation of law and could subject you to further penalties. As a result, you should seek legal counsel once you have been contacted by the RIAA and before you make any changes or deletions to your computer.
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