Illegal file-sharing notices rise sharply; stay safe with Cdigix

If your plans for the new year include music, remember that as a UC Davis student you can download songs free--and legally--through Cdigix. Since fall, every student has had a free one-year subscription to Ctrax, part of the Cdigix media suite. Staff and instructors can use the service for $5.99 per month.

Learn more or sign up here.

The program, a coordinated effort of Student Affairs and Information and Educational Technology, is designed to deter illegal music downloads. Violators of copyright laws can get sued and, at UC Davis, be placed on academic probation and denied access to computer network resources.

Notices of illegal file-sharing sent to the campus rose 400 percent in November over a year ago, said campus intellectual property officer Jan Carmikle, "due primarily to an increase in music file notifications--most for just one song."

The Recording Industry Association of America scans for illegal uploads. People who use peer-to-peer file-sharing software might think they won't get caught because they're only downloading songs for a few seconds at a time. Their exposure lasts much longer than that, Carmikle said.

"Every time they are running the peer-to-peer software at all ... most materials on their computer are available for someone [else] to upload through that same software without any knowledge or permission of the source computer," she said. "So, much of the time they are at risk for most copyrighted material they have on their computer, whether bought legally or not, if they have peer-to-peer programs such as BitTorrent, LimeWire, eDonkey, BearShare, KaZaA, or Morpheus on their computer."

The Ctrax subscription includes unlimited downloads and streaming audio from a library with more than 2 million songs. The downloads expire when the subscription ends, unless you buy the recording--89 cents for a song or $9.99 for an album.

Cdigix sells digital media services to the college marketplace.