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Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs prohibited on K-State computers

Ever since Napster wreaked havoc on K-State’s computer networks in the fall of 1999,  the use of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing applications on K-State’s data network has been prohibited by policy.  Partly because of new requirements outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, K-State revised its P2P file sharing policy during the fall 2009 semester to clarify expectations and to articulate the risks of P2P file sharing that go far beyond violating copyright laws.

As part of the revised policy, K-State published a list of prohibited P2P file sharing protocols and programs that cannot be installed on University computers (defined as any computer considered to be the property of Kansas State University) because they are commonly used for illicit purposes. Furthermore, technological deterrents are in place to prevent their use on the K-State network, including the networks serving the campus residence halls.

In 2009, K-State received 29 notices of alleged copyright infringement against individuals who were illegally sharing copyrighted or licensed music, movies, or software, which was down from the 56 notices received in 2008 thanks to a concerted education campaign last fall. The goal for 2010 is zero notices because K-State IT resources should NEVER be used for illegal purposes, P2p file sharing poses a risk of inadvertenly sharing confidential information, and K-Staters don’t want to be the next ones sued by the recording industry.

See K-State’s illegal file sharing web site for more information, including an informative single-page handout (PDF) that may be distributed to anyone at K-State.

About Harvard Townsend (harv@ksu.edu)

Chief Information Security Officer