File Sharing FAQ

Answers to your questions about file sharing.

What is file sharing?

File sharing is the process of exchanging files over the Internet. Methods of file sharing include:

  1. Running an FTP server or using an FTP program
  2. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to share files
  3. The most popular Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform is BitTorrent.

Peer-to-Peer programs normally share files by default and will allow the maximum bandwidth available, which can cause network problems.

Can I disable file sharing?

Disabling file sharing in these programs is no guarantee that they will not continue to share files. The only way to be sure that file sharing is disabled is to remove the program.

Why is file sharing a problem?

Most file sharing is against the law because it involves the distribution of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright owner, usually music (MP3) or movie files, but also TV programs, books, and images. Some copyright holders will issue cease and desist orders to users who distribute their material this way.

 

Summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from the U.S. Copyright Office (PDF)

Could my port be deactivated?

If the university receives a copyright complaint about your file-sharing activity, your port will be disabled and you will have to sign a form stating you will not file share while you are on the campus network. You will also be charged a fee to reactivate the port.

Could I get sued for file sharing?

This is unlikely. You're more likely to receive a cease and desist order.

Could file sharing get my computer infected with a virus or hacked?

It is possible to become infected with malware through file sharing.

How does file sharing affect Internet speed?

When file-sharing software is running on your computer, you could have thousands of users connecting to your computer to download files from it. This slows down your computer and makes your Internet connection slow to a crawl.

Is there a rule against file sharing on campus?

Use of any type of server software, including any file-sharing software, is against the ResNet Acceptable Use Policy. If you violate this policy, your port will be disabled and you could face university judicial sanctions.

Is there a legal alternative to file sharing?

There are many streaming services available for music and visual media.