There are many ways in which file sharing is a very useful and legitimate activity. The World Wide Web can be viewed as a way of file sharing on a massive scale. Within a work environment, file sharing can be an excellent way for a team of people to work on a project. In general, file sharing means that inside of a network a number of people can view, write to, modify, copy or print digital files containing images, data, music, software, film etc. There are a large number of P2P (peer to peer) services available on the Internet. Most of the time, these are set up to function without a central server and computers are interconnected with one another directly. Some of these services use a combination of the two.
File sharing at schools and universities is very common. It is important for students in residence halls to know that the responsibility for the use of personal computers on the school’s network lies with the student. It is important to remember that for certain types of file sharing, copyright laws need to be adhered to. Before downloading, uploading or accessing digital files containing music, videos, and other forms of information, it may be necessary to have permission of the copyright holder before you begin. Computer users who infringe copyright deliberately may want to consider relentless monitoring done by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to trace illegal file sharing, including university networks where the problem of piracy is prevalent. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows for subpoenas to be issued in attempt to reveal identity and activity on a network. When caught, a lawsuit to the computer user is inevitable and the fines astounding. When a lawsuit is issued, there is no possible way to ignore it.
Avoid allowing others to use your computer [devices] or campus credentials. One way the serious culprits avoid detection is by asking a friend to use their computer. They then download or share files, using the IP address and identity of the friend, thereby diverting a possible lawsuit.
Being part of a P2P network may result in sharing files you may not wish to share with those who have access to your machine.
Downloading files from P2P networks can be dangerous because the service is an opportunity for people with bad intentions to distribute a virus or Trojans.
Students and parents alike, inform yourself! The following links offer updated information about the legality of sharing music or movie files, explains the possible consequences of Internet piracy and offers ways of doing it right.
Here are some suggestions for music and file sharing: