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Peer-To-Peer File Sharing Policy

PURPOSE

The primary purpose of this policy is to inform, educate and set expectations for the members of the university community of their individual and corporate responsibilities towards the use of Peer-to-Peer applications using the University’s network.

SCOPE

This policy addresses the issues, impacts and concerns with file sharing aspects of Peer-to-Peer networking applications using the University’s network.

BACKGROUND

While the definition itself is controversial, generally a peer-to-peer (often referred to as P2P) computer network refers to any network that does not have fixed clients and servers, but a number of peer nodes that function as both clients and servers to the other nodes on the network. This model of network arrangement is contrasted with the client-server model. Any node is able to initiate or complete any supported transaction. Peer nodes may differ in local configuration, processing speed, network bandwidth, and storage quantity. Put simply, peer-to-peer computing is the sharing of computer resources and services by direct exchange between systems. Many researchers are looking into the practical uses of this technology.1

This policy intends to make it clear that P2P architecture, itself, is not in question. What is a concern, however, is one of the most prevalent uses of this technology, P2P File Sharing applications used for the distribution of copyrighted content. BitTorrent, µTorrent, Morpheus, KaZaA, Aimster, Madster, AudioGalaxy and Gnutella, are examples of the kinds of P2P File Sharing software which can be used inappropriately to share copyrighted content. Note, that some of these applications are not pure peer-too-peer architectures, further reinforcing that the issues with File Sharing applications have more to do with risk of abuses, than in the technology itself. Along with copyright infringement, other concerns of P2P File Sharing applications include network resource utilization, security, and inappropriate content. For a more in-depth definition of peer-to-peer and the various types (hybrid vs. pure) and peer-to-peer’s relationship with distributed networks, please refer to the footnotes2.

For the purposes of this policy, a Peer-to-peer file sharing application is any application that transforms a personal computer into a server that distributes data simultaneously to other computers.

POLICY

It is the policy of APU that the university’s network connections may not be used to violate copyright laws. The unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials is a serious violation of APU’s Internet Acceptable Use Policy, as well as the U.S. Copyright Laws, as discussed above.

All Peer-to-Peer File Sharing network activity will be monitored and usage tracked. Network activity that utilizes Peer-to-Peer applications that have a high prevalence for distributing copyrighted material will be blocked and the user quarantined from accessing external internet resources as identified in the Enforcement section of this document.

If an artist, author, publisher, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or a law enforcement agency notifies the University that a Faculty/Staff member or Student is violating copyright laws, IMT will provide to the relevant offices within the University information in the form of Internet Protocol (IP) address information and any information from logs to assist in the investigation of the complaint. If appropriate, action will be taken against the violator in accordance with University policy. In some cases, violations of University policy can result in suspension or revocation of network access privileges without refund of network access fees and/or civil or criminal prosecution under state and federal statutes.

ENFORCEMENT OF POLICY

Upon receiving notice from either IMT’s internal reporting system or from external sources (RIAA, MPAAMPA, or law enforcement agency), the following process will be employed. Each infraction of the policy will be assessed and reviewed to determine if a violation of copyright material has occurred.

  1. Report/log or letter of notification will be given to the Director of IMT Customer Services.
  2. For a 1st Offense–Warning:
    1. APU user is immediately:
      1. Notified through web page notification they have violated APU’s Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy
      2. Notified with a written warning via email.
      3. Notified by email that an Incident ticket has been generated in IMT’s Incident Management System
  3. For 2nd Offense–24 hour restriction from Public Internet:
    1. APU user is immediately:
      1. Notified through web page notification they have violated APU’s Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy
      2. Notified with a written warning via email.
      3. Notified by email that an Incident ticket has been generated in IMT’s Incident Management System
      4. Denied access to external internet resources for 24 hours. (user continues to have access to local APU resources, i.e., APU’s Intranet Portal (http://home.apu.edu), Library Services (http://www.apu.edu/library), APU Email (http://apumail.apu.edu), & eCollege/eCompanion (http://online.apu.edu))
    2. Supervisor is advised of the offense. If the offender is a student, Student Life and Communiveristy are contacted via email.
    3. After 24 hours, APU user is given access. If a student, no refund of network access fee will be provided for the amount of time services were denied.
  4. For 3rd Offense–one (1) week restriction from Public Internet:
    1. APU user is immediately:
      1. Notified through web page notification they have violated APU’s Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy
      2. Notified with a written warning via email.
      3. Notified by email that an Incident ticket has been generated in IMT’s Incident Management System
      4. Denied access to external internet resources for one (1) week. (user continues to have access to local APU resources, i.e., APU’s Intranet Portal (http://home.apu.edu), Library Services (http://www.apu.edu/library), APU Email (http://apumail.apu.edu), & eCollege/eCompanion (http://online.apu.edu))
    2. Supervisor is advised and provided a copy of written notice of network disconnection. If the offender is a student, Student Life and Communiversity are provided a copy of written notice via email.
    3. IMT receives return of the written warning with signature that the offender has acknowledged the warning and is providing signed commitment to refrain from further activity.
    4. APU user is given access. If a student, no refund of network access fee will be provided for the amount of time services were denied.
  5. For 4th Offense–Indefinite restriction from Public Internet - requires Student Life or Supervisor intervention:
    1. APU user is immediately:
      1. Notified through web page notification they have violated APU’s Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy
      2. Notified with a written warning via email.
      3. Notified by email that an Incident ticket has been generated in IMT’s Incident Management System
      4. Denied access to external internet resources indefinitely. (user continues to have access to local APU resources, i.e., APU’s Intranet Portal (http://home.apu.edu), Library Services (http://www.apu.edu/library), APU Email (http://apumail.apu.edu), & eCollege/eCompanion (http://online.apu.edu))
    2. Supervisor is advised and provided a copy of written notice of network disconnection. If the offender is a student, Student Life and Communiversity are provided a copy of written notice via email.
    3. IMT receives from the supervisor or Student Life, return of the written warning with signature that the offender has acknowledged the warning and is providing signed commitment to refrain from further activity.
    4. APU user is given access. If a student, no refund of network access fee will be provided for the amount of time services were denied.

Appeal can be made through the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

ISSUES

Copyright Infringement

Downloading or distributing copyrighted material, e.g. documents, music, movies, videos, text, etc., without permission from the rightful owner violates the United States Copyright Act and several university policies. While it is true that a number of artists have allowed their creative works to be freely copied, those artists remain very much the exception. It is best to assume that all works are copyright-protected except those that explicitly state otherwise.

Students, faculty and staff who may be in violation of copyright law place not only themselves at risk - they may be exposing Azusa Pacific University to liability as an institution, for contributory or vicarious infringement, e.g., using the University network resources to obtain the material and/or to store the material on University computers and/or servers.

Impact to APU’s network

Peer-to-peer file sharing applications typically allow a user to set up their computer so that other people can access specific files on their computer. This process, in effect, converts the user’s computer into a server. While this might seem like a nice service to offer, there are some serious drawbacks. A user’s computer acting as a server can place an enormous burden on APU’s network(s) This single computer/server can severely impact the performance of APU’s network. For example, music files (MP3) are usually very large files, between 2 and 10 MB in size, and movie files (DivX) can be enormous, averaging 600 MB in size.

UNINSTALLING PEER-TO-PEER APPLICATIONS

If you have installed a peer-to-peer file sharing application on your computer that connects to the University network you must remove the application that has caused the violation or policy. This can be achieved in a Microsoft Windows environment by clicking on START, SETTINGS, and CONTROL PANEL and then select ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS.

If you still need assistance removing the application, please contact the IMT Support Desk at extension 5050 (or call 626-815-5050), or send an e-mail message to support@apu.edu.