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Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Programs Banned on College-Owned Computers

To protect the Pennsylvania College of Technology community from the aggressive legal campaign being waged by the recording, motion picture and software industries, the administration has decided to ban peer-to-peer software such as KaZaA, eDonkey and Gnutella on College-owned computers.

As reported in April , lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America do not focus on the makers of the peer-to-peer software, but on the individuals who use them to violate copyright law. Those found guilty face criminal charges and stiff monetary penalties.

The concept of liability is complicated in a business or educational environment. If a student or employee uses an institutional resource to distribute copyrighted material, both the individual and the institution may be found responsible.

“Peer-to-peer file sharing programs open the College to potential lawsuits when they are used to download copyrighted materials,” said Jim Cunningham, chief technology officer. “Since these programs have no legitimate purpose within College operations, administration has decided that the best protection is to ban their use on all College-owned computers.”

The ban includes machines in computer labs, as well as desktop and laptop computers used by employees.

Beginning Nov. 22, Information Technology Services will conduct an electronic scan of all employee computers to remove any existing peer-to-peer applications. An additional security measure will block any future installations of these applications. Computers in classrooms and open computer labs already are protected.

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