Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

In recent years, copyright holders, such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have stepped up legal efforts to combat infringement, including targeting college students with increased numbers of copyright infringement notices. Under several pieces of legislation including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Oberlin College is legally required to take measures to remove the offending material from the network. For each violation it receives, CIT must identify whether the notification is valid, and if so, proceed to turn off peer-to-peer file-sharing access for the offending user and file paperwork with the copyright holder indicating the steps it has taken to ensure that the infringement notification has been dealt with. Hundreds of Oberlin College students and staff members receive these notices each year, requiring many hours of administrative work on the part of CIT staff members.

While it is not against the law to use a peer-to-peer file-sharing program, it is the distribution method most often cited in DMCA notices. If you purchase a song or a movie, you have the right to keep a copy of it on your computer for your own use. But if your computer contains P2P software, you may be sharing it with people who have not paid for it. That is copyright infringement and you can be held responsible.

For this reason, Oberlin College blocks P2P traffic by default. Those wishing access to this tool for legal sharing activities have the opportunity to opt-in for access. For more information on the Oberlin’s copyright infringement policy, its peer-to-peer file-sharing policy, or the opt-in process, please visit the Copyright Policy page.