A few students had questions about the recent Copyright Infringement Reminder email from ITS.
>> I know sharing copyrighted music is illegal, but what about movies?
Distributing (sharing) copyrighted content without the owner’s permission is illegal regardless of the media. This means that downloading and sharing copyrighted movies and tv shows can also put you at risk for a lawsuit from the copyright holders.
Similar to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has filed suits against copyright infringers based on the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
>> I’ve heard conflicting things about movie-downloading sites. Is Veoh safe?
Veoh.com is complicated — it is a website based on posts by users. Copyright law requires VeOH to remove copyright-infringing videos after they are notified by the copyright holder, but the company does not have to screen material posted to the site. Veoh was recently sued by Universal, similar to the recent Viacom suit against YouTube. This means that copyright-infringing material may be on the site, and it is important that you do not re-distribute this copyrighted material (even inadvertently). You can read VeOH’s copyright policy here: http://www.veoh.com/corporate/copyright.html
In a nut-shell: Do not download copyright-infringing material to your personal computer and never share, distribute, or post copyright-infringing material online (videos, music, etc).
>> What about Ruckus?
Ruckus.com is a website that allows students to download DRM (Digital Rights Management) tracks to a personal computer. These tracks are not your property and can only be played using the Ruckus Player. The player currently only supports Windows XP and Windows 2000. Mac and Windows Vista users are out of luck. DRM tracks can only be played on DRM mp3 players (iPods are not in this category) if you purchase a Ruckus to Go Subscription.
- A User’s Guide to DRM in Online Music [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
- Cornell University’s FAQ on Ruckus
- Ruckus Networks’ free, ad-supported college music service goes nationwide [Ars Technica]
>> And if I use too much bandwidth?
ITS looks at the “top talker” (highest bandwidth user list) and will restrict users that have exceeded their quota. If this happens to you, you will be receive a letter from Kate Etzel, Director of User Support at ITS. Students get three warnings before their network access is disabled and the matter is brought before the honor board. Using an excessive amount of bandwidth is considered a violation of the Smith Acceptable Use Policy:
Use of computer resources in such a manner that might cause congestion of the network or that incapacitates, compromises, or damages college resources.
… Violations of college policies are adjudicated according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook, the Faculty Code, and the Staff Handbook, and may result in the removal of computer access privileges and/or more serious sanctions. Some offenses are punishable under state and federal laws. A repeat copyright violation will result in the immediate removal of computer access privileges. The college reserves the right to access the contents of electronic files during the course of an investigation and to disclose the contents during judicial proceedings.
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