W&L Policy on Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
This policy governs the use of peer-to-peer computer file sharing programs (e.g., KaZaA, Morpheus, Limewire, iMesh, Gnuttella, Grokster, and all similar programs and their successors) that are primarily employed to share copyrighted works on the Washington and Lee University network.
This policy applies to all users of the Washington and Lee University network.
There are no definitions applicable to this policy.
The use of peer-to-peer computer file sharing programs (e.g., KaZaA, Morpheus, Limewire, iMesh, Gnuttella, Grokster, and all similar programs and their successors) that are primarily employed to share copyrighted works is prohibited on the campus network. Where possible, banned file swapping will be intercepted and blocked by network control systems. The use of methods designed to evade that blocking is prohibited. For help in removing file swapping software from a computer, call the Information Desk at xHELP (x4357). Specific exceptions to this policy may be approved by the Chief Technology Officer in instances where such programs will be used exclusively for educational/research purposes and in a manner that complies with all US copyright laws.
In August, 2003, the University implemented a ban on the use of peer-to-peer file-swapping software on computers attached to the University network. The programs, including KaZaA, Morpheus, iMesh, Gnutella, LimeWire, Grokster, and other descendants of Napster, are used nearly exclusively to download and allow the uploading of copyright-protected music, movies, software, and other works, likely in violation of federal law.
Sharing protected works by unauthorized copying is not only a violation of copyright law but also a violation of the University's Computer and Network Use Policy, which forbids use of the network "for purposes incompatible with established University codes and regulations or applicable laws."
Agents of copyright owners have become increasingly aggressive in pursuing violators on university networks, filing suits seeking tens of thousands of dollars in damages from some students and other users. The ban seeks to protect users from exposure to such liability, to adhere to the copyright laws, and to protect network capacity for educational uses.
1/13/10 - Revised to clarify broad scope of programs banned by this policy, and to clarify exceptions to this policy.