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Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Policy Statement

The use of file-sharing networks and software to download and share copyrighted works like software, music, movies, television programs, and books can violate copyright laws. Both the person who makes an illegal copy of a copyrighted work available and the person who receives or downloads an illegal copy have violated the law and Stanford policies. Many file-sharing programs have default settings that share copyrighted files, such as music and movies, through the Internet. Before enabling any of these programs students, faculty, or staff must read the fine print, make sure to understand the program itself, and only use such programs lawfully. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copyright owners are entitled to notify Internet service providers, such as Stanford, that IP addresses linked to the Stanford network are sharing copies of music, movies, or other content without authorization. The law requires the University to respond to such complaints by eliminating access to the infringing materials. Stanford will disconnect students who fail to respond to a DMCA complaint promptly. Furthermore, the University also will suspend or terminate computer access to the Stanford network, including termination of the SUNet ID, to members of the community who continue to violate copyright laws. Finally, the University will take action through the student, employee, or faculty disciplinary processes if necessary. Beyond University consequences, copyright holders may file civil lawsuits against copyright infringers seeking extensive monetary damages. If compelled by a lawful subpoena, Stanford may be required to identify students, faculty, staff, or others who have violated copyright law. For more information about file-sharing, refer to Residential Computing's online resource, File-Sharing and Copyright Law web site.