Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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What do I need to know about downloading music, videos, games, and other media?

Downloading files puts you at risk personally if you are found to possess copyrighted material that you have not obtained legally. It may also result in harm to your system if you download a malicious computer program disguised as a movie or other media.

In April, 2003, four college students paid fines ranging from $12,000-$17,500 in a settlement of a file-sharing suit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA complained that the students were illegally distributing copyrighted music, sharing thousands of copyrighted MP3 music files.

The widespread use of file-sharing programs to download and distribute media for recreational purposes has generated a high volume of network traffic and damaged the performance of other applications used for university work. To preserve bandwidth, UB uses a technique called "bandwidth shaping" to limit network traffic for specific peer-to-peer programs.

If you are using a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program (1) or have set up an ftp server, make sure that you are not "serving" copyright-protected materials to the world. If the University is notified by policing organizations such as the RIAA, MPAA, or their agents (2) that you are serving copyright-protected materials from your computer, you will be requested to appear at UB's Computer Discipline Office to discuss the complaint. Failure to appear could result in deactivation of your UBIT privileges.

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