Annual File Sharing

Peer 2 Peer File Sharing & Copyright Infringement Notice

In August of 2008, Congress amended the Higher Education Act (HEA). The amended HEA requires all colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid funding to provide students with notice of university policies and other information about copyright infringement and illegal file sharing.

  • A copyright gives an artist the sole right to distribute their creative work, and only the copyright holder has the legal right to control the distribution of a copyrighted file.
  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) applications work by sharing out files to others and at the same time allowing you to download files from others. In addition, P2P file sharing software that you install on your computer may share out more than you intend, such as personal documents found on your hard drive or may even contain backdoors into your system giving control of your computer to others.
  • If a P2P shared file is copyrighted and the copyright owner prohibits free downloading, P2P sharing of the copyrighted work is a violation of federal copyright law.
  • Unauthorized sharing of copyrighted materials is also a violation of the Acceptable Usage Policies of both the University of West Georgia and the Georgia Board of Regents:
    http://policy.westga.edu/
    http://www.usg.edu/infosec/policies_and_standards/USG_Appropriate_Use_Policy_AUP.pdf

The University of West Georgia routinely receives notifications of infringement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) originating from computers on the West Georgia network. UWG is required to investigate each complaint and takes these notifications very seriously.

The University is authorized to track down the computer and the user associated with the copyright infringement notice. If an infraction is found, the user is required to remove the illegal material.

If the University receives proper legal demand to identify a particular user for a copyright offense, UWG must comply and provide the copyright owner with the required information. If you are identified, you could be subject to legal action from the copyright holder, which could result in fines or a costly legal case. For information about copyright law violations and related fines and damages refer to the US Copyright Office Website:

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html

There are many sources of low-cost and free legal music available on-line. Educause maintains a list of websites providing  music and movies that may be purchased or viewed on-line legally-

http://www.educause.edu/Resources/Browse/LegalDownloading/33381

For more information about copyright and staying safe online please visit these sites
http://www.eff.org/wp/how-not-get-sued-file-sharing
http://www.b4ucopy.com

For more information about UWG specific policies, call 678-839-6587.