Open Letter on File Sharing and Copyright from Library & Technology Services

Letter to the Brandeis University Community from Perry Hanson, the Vice President and Vice Provost for Libraries and Technology Services, September 1, 2007. Original version sent May 5, 2003.

In the last few months, the issue of copyright violation at colleges and universities has become especially important because of increased enforcement efforts by copyright holders and new congressional interest in the subject. Students, faculty members, and staff who use file sharing software to transfer material they do not have rights to may be putting themselves and the university at significant risk.

Keep in mind that:

  1. Illegally transferring copyrighted material violates a fundamental tenet of our Computer Policy: Users must obey local, state, and federal laws including laws on copyright and other intellectual property laws. It may not always be obvious that your computer is sharing copyrighted files, but it is your responsibility to be sure that it is not.
  2. Excessive use of the network violates another fundamental tenet of our Computer Policy: Users should recognize that computing resources are limited and therefore should not exceed their reasonable share of resources. File sharing can involve excessive network use and, in turn, degrade service to others who rely on the network.

Actions you should take:

Possible consequences: