File Sharing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Copyright issues surrounding file sharing (i.e., the downloading of music, movies, and other digital media) are popular topics in the news and at universities nationwide. To understand your rights, responsibilities, and options as a UC Davis student, review this list of guidelines.

Your File Sharing Activities Are NOT Anonymous The Recording Industry Association of America and other license holders scan computer networks (including UC Davis) to detect copyright infringement. The Industry recently sued four college students, with settlements ranging from $12,000 to 17,000. During the 2004-2005 school year alone, 103 notifications were filed against UC Davis students and faculty.

UC Davis Cannot Protect You from Being Sued Subpoenas are issued to Internet Service Providers (like UC Davis), requiring release of copyright violators' names. UC Davis will respond lawfully to each such subpoena. If your computer was used to illegally trade movies, music, etc., an Area Conduct Coordinator will meet with you to determine your level of responsibility. If found responsible, you will receive a formal warning from Student Housing, and your name will be placed on record with Student Judicial Affairs. In the meantime, your Internet connection will be disabled, and may remain disabled until the matter is resolved (a minimum of 7 days). A second violation results in a permanent loss of campus Internet privileges.

You CAN Download Music Legally! There are many legal uses of file-sharing programs, such as sharing non-copyrighted music for recreational purposes or group projects. And while there are no legal resources to help you get copyrighted software and licensed films, there are many options for safely obtaining music, including Internet radio, subscription services, and songs a la carte.

Inform Yourself: Knowledge is Power Visit the File Sharing section of the Student Computing Guide, and send any file sharing questions to