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Ohio University announces changes in file-sharing policies
April 25, 2007  

Ohio University announces changes in file-sharing policies  ATHENS, Ohio (April 25, 2007) – In an effort to ensure that every student, faculty member and researcher has access to the computer resources they need, Ohio University announced today it will restrict the use of all peer-to-peer, or P2P, file-sharing on the campus computer network.

“The network is a shared resource, and we must ensure that it is available to all users,” said Chief Information Officer Brice Bible. “Peer-to-peer file-sharing consumes a disproportionate amount of resources, both in bandwidth and human technical support.” 

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 27, the university will begin monitoring its network for P2P file sharing activity and disabling Internet access for computers found in violation of the new policy. Once disabled, a computer’s Internet access will remain off until its user contacts the IT Service Desk (740-593-1222) and agrees to abide by the university’s computer and network use policy. A second violation will result in Internet access being disabled again and a referral to University Judiciaries if a student is in violation or to the appropriate administrator if an employee is involved. 

Although P2P file-sharing can sometimes be used for legitimate reasons, any use of P2P software on the campus network may result in Internet access being disabled under this new policy. Individuals who need to use P2P software for legitimate purposes can discuss their needs with the IT Service Desk.

In addition to consuming bandwidth and technological resources, P2P file-sharing also exposes the university network to viruses, spyware and other attacks. It also is frequently used for illegally distributing copyrighted works.

Today’s announcement follows the recent crackdown by the Recording Industry Association of America on illegal music downloading. The RIAA sent more than 1,200 prelitigation letters to colleges and universities, including 100 to Ohio University. It also initiated “John Doe” lawsuits against users of computers on Ohio University’s network. The university estimates staff members have spent nearly 120 hours dealing with the prelitigation letters from the RIAA.

“Left unchecked, P2P applications can consume all available network bandwidth,” said Bible. “In fact this happened at Ohio University years ago when the original Napster file-sharing program became widely available.”

Some file-sharing programs that could trigger action are Ares, Azureus, BitTorrent, BitLord, KaZaA, LimeWire, Shareaza and uTorrent.

Students are being informed of this policy change today through campus e-mail. In addition, IT officials will host an information session at noon Thursday, April 26, in Baker University Center 230 for all interested parties.  To learn more, users can check the “frequently asked questions” page.

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Office of the Dean of Students
345 Baker University Center, Athens, Ohio 45701
Tel: 740.593.1800 | Email: deanstu@ohio.edu

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