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Columbia College Chicago
Copyright and Downloading FAQs
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Copyright and Downloading FAQs

What is P2P?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing allows you, as an Internet user, to find and download files from other users’ computers by using a P2P program.

Why it is Illegal?
As an artist, would you want millions of people using your work without paying you? Downloading movies for free is illegal because it is stealing from artists. Others work to design, produce and market their work, and they deserve to be paid.  According to the Institute for Policy Innovation, “global music piracy loses approximately 2.7 billion dollars in earnings in the music industry.” The Motion Picture Association (MPAA) of America states that “more than 2.5 million American jobs rely upon a healthy film and television industry in the United States.”

Who’s Watching?
Multiple organizations monitor violations, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the MPAA are the two entities that look for copyright violations, especially on college campuses such as ours. Once they see an offender, they notify NTT, the college’s Internet service provider (ISP). By law, the college is required to stop this illegal behavior.

What are the consequences of illegal downloading?
The RIAA or MPAA may seek the following penalties from those who are found guilty of copyright infringement through illegal downloading. The following are guidelines, though the actual penalty is different for each case:

• Up to five years in jail
• Up to $250,000 in fines
• The copyright holder also can sue, which can result in legal fees and damages that must be paid; this is in addition to any other charges that might be brought against you.

So what will happen at Columbia?

Columbia College Chicago Students
When attempting to download or upload a file illegally, students view a screen that notifies them of the violation and are unable to access the Internet (but not the college network) until they respond to the screen. Once they agree to comply with the Network and Computer Usage Policy, they will regain Internet access within 15 minutes. They are locked out of the Internet but not the college network. If students continuously violate these policies, they will lose Internet access through the college network until they contact Student Affairs.

Columbia College Chicago Employees
Employees that violate these policies will receive the same screen.  If it continues, the details of each violation are sent to the employee’s supervisor.  Excessive violations will result in termination of employment.

Has anyone at the college been caught violating these policies?
No one has been caught, but many users have violated this policy. This is the reason we have deployed a solution to help us identify the users who are in violation.

How often is the IT department notified of violations?
The Chief Information Officer (CIO) receives notifications about violations several times a month, usually on the same day the violation occurs.

I’m only downloading and sharing a couple of songs and movies here and there. Will I still get in trouble?
Yes. Illegal P2P sharing is against the college’s Network and Computer Use Policy and will result in restrictions to the Internet, leading up to disciplinary consequences and possible legal action by the recording industry.

What if my file sharing is legal and I get locked out anyway?
A signature embedded in copyrighted material triggers a flag in the software that oversees legal file sharing when illegal downloading occurs. We do allow file sharing on our network, but we do not allow sharing of copyrighted materials that do not belong to you. If you are sharing files legally and you get locked out, you should contact Client Services at extension 7001 or email clientservices@colum.edu. Inform them you have been locked out and give them your OASIS ID. Client Services will open a ticket and assign it to the administrator to look into the situation. If the administrator verifies that the file sharing was legal, your account will be unlocked.

How does the college know if I’m downloading and sharing files?
The RIAA and MPAA monitor all types of illegal downloading and will notify the college’s Internet service provider. They, in turn, will notify the IT department.

Is it really stealing?
If the song or movie is something that you would typically have to pay for and you download it without paying, you are stealing. There is no difference between taking a CD from a store and downloading your favorite song; both are theft.

What if I’m using my personal computer?
If your own personal computer is connected to the Columbia College Chicago network and you download a file without paying, you are still liable and can be caught. Illegal downloading that takes place on a personally owned computer, if it occurs while that computer is connected to Columbia College’s network, is still governed by our Network and Computer Use Policy.

Campus Downloading

Recording Industry Association of America

Motion Picture Association of America

Institute for Policy Innovation

U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright Alliance