Illegal Copyright Material Reminder
We are writing to remind the entire campus community of the University's commitment to the protection of intellectual property and copyrighted material. When it comes to illegal copying of digital materials - whether music, video, text, or pictures - the University imposes its own penalties (disciplinary action, loss of network connectivity) on anyone who is found to be using Carnegie Mellon's network for such purposes.
Moreover, the trade organizations that are charged with protecting copyrighted materials, e.g. the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), are aggressively searching for copyright violators on the Internet and *will take independent legal action against such violators.* Peer to peer file sharing activity using the Carnegie Mellon network is accessible to their monitoring. Past actions by these industry associations have resulted in substantial monetary penalties imposed on the individuals involved.
In fact, according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, penalties can range from $750 to $150,000 per song if songs are the items being distributed illegally.
Please be aware that the target of these actions is not the University, but rather the individuals engaged in the violations. As an Internet service provider, following the results of court rulings last year, the University is obliged to respond to subpoenas from organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA requesting the names of individuals who operate computers illegally sharing copyrighted materials. Do not be misled by the fact that Verizon, as an Internet service provider, won its case for not providing user names in response to certain kinds of "John Doe" subpoenas. The ruling allows the RIAA and the MPAA to discover the identities of copyright violators from Internet service providers (including universities) as long as they follow certain legal procedures.
Simply put, if you are engaged in illegal use of copyrighted materials (usually done by peer-to-peer file sharing using programs like Kazza, LimeWire, BitTorrent, and others) and the University receives a proper subpoena asking for the name of the person who registered the computer being used for such purposes on the Carnegie Mellon network, we are legally obligated to supply that name. The result may well be that the RIAA or MPAA will take legal action against *you*. There is nothing the University can do to shield you from such action.
Since your identity on the network is based on the match between your name an the IP address and *MAC* or *hardware* address of your computer, it is a very good idea to be sure that all and only the computers you physically control are registered to you. You can check the list of computers you have registered to your name using Computing Services' NetReg system. Go to http://netreg.net.cmu.edu, click on the Enter button at the bottom of the page, and log in with your Andrew ID and password to see the computers registered to you.
Staff who use their computers for such activity expose both themselves and potentially the University to legal action.
In some cases, computers can be "hacked" into, and subsequently act as a server of copyright protected materials without the owner's knowledge. This is one reason that it is important to follow all of the security measures outlined at . If you have concerns that your computer may have been compromised and is being used for this purpose (often indicated by excessive disk activity when it is connected to the network, your having received a network bandwidth warning when you do little network activity, or by the machine inexplicably slowing down), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also note that most peer-to-peer file sharing programs act as a server by default, and in some cases (BitTorrent, for example) their ability to offer shares cannot be disabled. If you are downloading copyright protected materials there is a very good chance that you are also distributing copyright protected materials.