Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

The University owns and operates PennNet to provide internet access to the Penn Community. Students are given access to PennNet for school-related activities. All other activities are impermissible. Illegal activities of any kind will trigger the possibility of disciplinary sanctions.

Illegal Downloading

Among the illegal activities students sometimes engage in over PennNet is illegal downloading and sharing of files, generally programs, music and movies. When students download files using Bit Torrent, Limewire or similar peer-to-peer file sharing programs, the student also gives the program permission and ability to distribute the material to others. The sharing can begin even as the download proceeds. This can happen even when students think they have taken precautions against it.

Copyright Infringement

Sharing files in violation of the copyright laws is against University policy and the law. Students may have shared files elsewhere without consequence. That is because many ISPs will not share subscriber information with copyright owners and the copyright owners do not want to expend resources to go after individuals. However, copyright owners have concentrated their enforcement efforts on universities because universities have large and powerful operating systems and lots of students who are of prime age for file sharing. They monitor the University operating system for illegal sharing and, if they find it, notify Penn by providing the ISP address which is involved in illegal file sharing. Penn in turn notifies and, if appropriate, sanctions the students associated with those ISP addresses. As a result, Penn sanctions students who are involved in illegal downloading and sharing.