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Peer-to-Peer File Sharing & the DMCA

Copying, distributing, uploading, and downloading copyrighted materials, including music, videos, and games, for which you do not have the copyright holder’s permission is a violation of federal law in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Compliance with federal copyright law is expected of all students, faculty, staff, and guests at Jefferson Community College.

Some examples of copyright infringement per the DMCA are:

  • Downloading copyrighted music and films from the Internet or another person’s computer without having paid for it (unless it has explicitly been listed as free), even for your own personal use
  • Making copies of a CD or DVD without copyright permission or purchase
  • Creating a document using the words from an Internet site
  • Downloading images, photographs, music, films, or art without purchasing or permission
  • File sharing of copyrighted files (i.e. using peer-to-peer software such as Kazaa, LimeWire, or Napster and not turning file sharing off)

If you download and/or distribute unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings and movies, you are breaking the law and may be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages. Federal law provides severe penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or digital transmission of copyrighted materials.

In February 2010 a federal appeals court ordered a university student to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $27,750 for file sharing 37 songs when she was in high school.

What is JCC doing?

Jefferson Community College uses bandwidth shaping to manage network traffic. This reduces sharing of copyrighted material on JCC’s network by limiting outgoing traffic. JCC also uses hardware and software to define appropriate traffic, thereby preventing and limiting various peer-to-peer protocols on our network.

JCC distributes information on copyright law and related campus policies to the campus community as required by HEOA 4137.

Steps to Legally Protect Yourself

Legal Music and Movies Online

There are many legal options for music and movies online. Artists and recording labels have websites and many TV networks stream popular programs for free.

Some Legal Alternatives for Downloading
Turn Off File Sharing

Most peer-to-peer (P2P) software turns file sharing on by default when the software is installed. This allows other people to access materials on your computer without your knowledge or permission. Downloading copyrighted music or movie files without permission is illegal. It is also illegal to share purchased music or movie files with others, again, whether you are aware that you have done it or not.

Disabling file sharing in your P2P software limits network usage by off-campus users, improves the performance of your system, and conserves College bandwidth for use by other students.

The University of Chicago maintains an article on Disabling P2P File Sharing.

Protect yourself from Spyware and Adware

Many P2P file sharing programs have spyware bundled into them. Information about you may be transmitted to an external entity without your knowledge or consent. Identity theft is frequently linked to the presence of file sharing programs on computers.

Compliance with Legal Requirements: DMCA and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policies

Reporting Alleged Copyright Infringement

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), JCC has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement.

To report alleged copyright infringements at JCC, please contact:

Monica Papagni
Chief Technology Officer

Room 5-001
Jefferson Community College
1220 Coffeen Street
Watertown, NY 13601

Phone: 315-786-2472
Fax: 315-786-2511

Reporting an Infringement

JCC requires its faculty, staff, students, and affiliates using College infrastructure to comply with U.S. copyright laws. JCC reserves the right to remove or limit access to material posted on College-owned computers if it is alleged that the US copyright laws have been violated. If the College determines that US copyright laws have in fact been violated, the infringing material will be permanently removed.

The DMCA requires that all claims of infringement be in writing and include:

  1. A physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or person designated to act on his/her behalf
  2. Identification of the allegedly infringed copyrighted work, including:
    1. Identity of the copyright owner, if not the complainant;
    2. Citation of the copyrighted work (author/creator, title/description, copyright date);
    3. State of copyright ownership; and
    4. Evidence of copyright registration;
  3. Identification of the host web site and sufficient information to locate it including:
    1. URL (web address);
    2. Date, time, and time zone the web site was observed; and
    3. Contact information for the complainant or person designated to act on his/her behalf, including address, telephone number, and, if available, email address
  4. A statement that the complainant has a good faith belief that the use of the material is not authorized by the copyright owner or the law
  5. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and; under penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
How JCC Responds to Allegations of Online Copyright Infringement
(DMCA Notices)

As part of its compliance with federal copyright law and the DMCA, the College deploys a procedure to respond to bona fide notices of copyright violation by copyright holders. This procedure operates as follows:

  1. The DMCA agent for the College requests that IT block the Internet Protocol (IP) address alleged by the notice to be in violation of federal law and provide the agent with the identity of the user or party responsible for the computer (responsible party)
  2. The agent then notifies the user or responsible party of the notice by sending a copy of the Standard Notice via email and requests a cease and desist statement by return email
  3. Upon receipt of that statement, the agent then requests the IT unblock the IP address
  4. If the identified individual cited is certain that s/he is legally using the allegedly infringing material or that the copyright owner has misidentified the material, s/he may file a counter notice
  5. Alleged Repeat Offenders: The process for alleged “repeat offenders” (subjects of more than one DMCA notice):
    1. Student—file charges with the judicial system for prosecution as student misconduct
    2. Employee—his/her department head will be informed that the complaint is not the first one
    3. In order to maintain safe harbor under the DMCA, it is necessary that the College terminate the Internet services of students, faculty or staff who receive three DMCA notices that (a) conform to statutory requirements and (b) where no counter notification has been filed

IT will refer violations to the appropriate campus administrative entity. Violations of local, state and federal law will be referred to the appropriate authorities. Violations by students may result in judicial sanctions as prescribed by the JCC Student Code of Conduct such as:

  • loss of privileges
  • monetary reimbursement to the College or other appropriate sources
  • prosecution under applicable civil or criminal laws

Some content on this page has been borrowed from the University of Buffalo “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policies at UB,” with permission.

Copyright Resources