P2P FAQs

What is P2P file sharing?
P2P stands for peer-to-peer, or computer-to-computer, and file sharing refers to downloading and uploading digital files over a network. P2P software needs to be installed to join a P2P network. P2P technology enables the sharing of computer resources and services, including information, files, and storage by direct exchange between systems, without the use of central servers. These programs and their users can be sharing copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owners. P2P networks provide many different types of content both legal and illegal. For reasons of copyright and bandwidth, most P2P file sharing is prohibited at PVAMU.

What are evasive P2P clients?
The CopySense software implemented on the PVAMU network can recognize and control P2P traffic. Some P2P clients use encryption or other techniques to hide the content of their transfers, this type of traffic will be prevented to allow protection against violating copyright owners’ rights.  Some examples of such P2P clients include LimeWire and BitTorrent.  The exact list of P2P networks that are affected by this setting will automatically change over time as the P2P networks evolve.

Are these programs illegal?
P2P programs are not illegal although they can cause unexpected problems. Many P2P programs are not well tested and may vary in quality. Users have reported configuration problems that have unintentionally shared their entire hard drive, including personal information, with other P2P users. Although P2P software is normally free to download, it may contain other unwanted software such as spyware, malware, or trojan software that can expose sensitive information or decrease processing performance of the computer.

So is file sharing illegal?
File sharing itself is not illegal but the sharing of copyrighted material is. Copyright refers to ownership of original works. These owners decide specifically how the copyrighted works are to be used. An example of a music copyright organization is Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a group that works toward protecting copyright owner’s property. Copyright owners and the organizations working to protect them often monitor file sharing networks, including universities, for copyright infringement.  When certain illegal activity is detected lawful action can be taken for proper restitution.

What are some examples of copyrighted materials?
Some examples are audio files, songs, books and motion pictures. When these are in digital form and shared over a network, without the copyright owner’s permission, legal problems can occur. For a FAQ regarding copyrights, go to the following link at the US Copyright Office
Where do I find the existing PVAMU Information Technology Policies?
They are located on the PVAMU policy Library website.  Policy 29.01.06.P1.21 Information Resources Peer to Peer File Sharing

Are there legal ways to download media?
There are a number of legal music sites such as iTunes, Napster, eMusic and Rhapsody. For more information go to P2P Educational Resources

Is PVAMU blocking P2P?
PVAMU does prevent P2P applications on all PVAMU networks. Any illegal use of P2P applications on the PVAMU network will be logged and a preventative technical safeguard will be implemented according to previous history of misuse. For information on the different preventive technical safeguard levels please check the P2P Restriction Process

I just got restricted for the first time, what do I do next?
You will be redirected to a page that informs you of the service restriction when trying to visit any non-PVAMU websites. If you are being restricted because of P2P software use, disable any infringing software and you will see a page explaining the violation. Read carefully through this information, and click “I will comply” if you will comply. After complying, your internet access will be restored within 4-5 hours.

What does the new CopySence technology do?
The technology prevents obtaining illegal copyright material.  Once it observes such behavior, preventive technical safeguards are implemented to assist in informing the user of the activities.  Future misuses of PVAMU’s network to obtain such material will be handled with additional safeguards.  To view the levels of preventive technical safeguards, please click here.

Why is this new CopySence technology being implemented?
Obtaining copyright material without the owners’ knowledge and approval is against the law.  The technology is assisting in allowing LEGAL uses of the software to continue.  Additionally, P2P software is a drain on campus technology resources.  This technology will assist in increasing everyone’s network speed.

P2P file sharing has been around for a long time now.  Why is PVAMU just now preventing my downloads?
Illegal uses of P2P file sharing programs have continually increased in the past several years; new technologies are being marketed for such purposes.  The stance that PVAMU is taking on P2P is not only to protect you the user, but to also protect the campus as a whole.  The use of information technology is regulated by entities beyond PVAMU.  Various government agencies and contractual obligations create additional compliance issues to which users must adhere.  For more information on these compliance issues please refer to:

What is a DMCA Violation?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) outlines prohibitions regarding unauthorized use (including distribution) of literary/artistic works in digital form. PVAMU staff often receives outside complaints from legal officials indicating that a person using the PVAMU network is violating the copyright on a specific “work.” A complaint contains technical evidence of a download from a location on the PVAMU network that allows for identification of the user via the public information contained within the download.

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