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Illegal Peer To Peer File Sharing

Pittsburg State University maintains network services for students and employees in the University community to utilize in order to further the mission of the University.


PSU is required by Federal Law (H.R. 4137, Higher Education Opportunity Act - HEOA) to make an annual disclosure informing network users that illegal sharing, distribution, and/or downloading of copyrighted materials may lead to civil and/or criminal penalties.  Pittsburg State University takes the responsibility of following this law seriously.  Therefore, the following information is provided to help the PSU community avoid breaking this law.


What Does the Copyright Law Say?

Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(1) literary works;

(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

(7) sound recordings; and

(8) architectural works.


In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.


Therefore illegal downloading, copying, distribution, or use of games, software, music, movies, or any other digital media is considered a violation of this law.


What Actions has PSU taken to Avoid Illegal Peer to Peer Activity on the Campus Network?

PSU uses a variety of tools to deter such activity on campus, including:

-Bandwidth management devices

-Switch management protocols


What are the consequences of Illegal Peer to Peer File Sharing?

-PSU penalties: Use of the University's online services will be terminated for anyone who violates the copyright provisions of the United States Code on the third notice of violation by the University.

-Federal penalties:

  • Civil penalties of actual damages suffered by the copyright owner from the infringement, or
  • Civil penalties of statutory damages of up to $30,000.
  • Civil penalties for willful infringement of up to $150,000, and
  • Criminal penalties for willful criminal infringement from 1 to 5 years of imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000 for a first offense.


What are some Legal Alternatives for Downloading Digital Media?

There are a host of legal alternatives for downloading music, movies, software, and games.  Below you will find a variety of links that could be used for such downloads:


-iTunes - Movies, Music, Audio Books:

-Amazon - Music, Audio Books:

-Wal-Mart mp3 -  Music:

-Rhapsody - Music by Yahoo:

-Napster - Music by Best Buy:

-7 Digital - Music:

-Last FM- Streaming music and video:

-Pandora - Streaming Radio:

-Netflix - Streaming Movies/TV:

-Audible - Audio book downloads:

-Hulu - Television:

-Many major Networks allow various programming to be streamed at no cost.


Links that may be helpful to better understand this law:

Department of Education website: website:


US Government Copyright website:


Pittsburg State University Copyright Policy: