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Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Peer-to-peer file sharing is a popular, efficient, and legal way to share files for which you have legal license to distribute or receive via computer networks. There are many software clients that enable file sharing operating on networks such as BitTorrent, Gnutella, OpenNap, and Loafy. Luther does not expressly prohibit or prevent file sharing on our networks provided users have legal license to share the files they are sharing.

Receiving or transmitting files for which you do not have legal license to distribute is not permitted under Luthers network use policies and is in many cases an illegal act punishable under criminal and/or civil law. Luther will contact any user found to be violating this policy with information regarding the claimed infringement. Failure to respond to and address the claimed infringement notice and associated activity may result in loss of network privileges and referral to the campus judicial system.

There are a number of issues that Luther community members need to consider when it comes to file sharing activity:

  • All users of Luthers network resources are legally responsible for their own actions. Luther as an institution cannot and will not provide legal protection for online activities, and we will cooperate with any lawful legal action directed at users of our network.
  • Luther does not currently have any active processes to monitor the legality of traffic on our network. We believe users should be responsible for their actions and that it is not Luthers responsibility to police compliance.
  • Luther does not block any protocols on our network outright, though we do shape and limit bandwidth to individual users to ensure a positive network experience for all. There are legal and legitimate reasons to use peer-to-peer file sharing protocols, and we dont believe it right to block certain types of traffic because they might be used illegally.
  • People (and computers) are watching what you do online. If you are sharing files for which you do not own legal license to distribute, you run a good risk of being identified by copyright holders. If we are notified of fraudulent acts committed on our network, we can (and will) track who was responsible for the activity and hold them accountable for that activity.
  • Any community member that installs wireless access points on the Luther network under their name is responsible for all activity that occurs on that access point. This includes anonymous use by others of your access point. Luther does not support the use of individual wireless access points on our network. In cases where file sharing occurs over open access points, we have and will continue to pursue punitive measures against the owner and manager of the wireless access point.

Luther encourages users who choose to acquire digital media to use legal and licensed services such as:

Additional services can be found at EDUCAUSE which maintains a list of legal downloading services.

For additional questions on Luthers file sharing policies, please contact Paul Mattson, (mattpa01@luther.edu) Executive Director of Library and Information Services. For more information on your legal rights and responsibilities, please contact your legal advisor.