To all Students, Faculty and Staff:
We would like to alert you to the increasing personal risks involved
with illegal file sharing. As you may have seen in the media,
the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has subpoenaed
the University regarding an alleged case of file sharing. It is
important that you understand these personal risks not only because
of the possibility of campus disciplinary action, but also to
protect against criminal prosecution and the initiation of civil
litigation by copyright holders. We would like you to be very
aware that initiation of legal actions by copyright holders is
becoming more of a reality every day.
Although trading of copyrighted music, movies, games and software
over the Internet has become commonplace using file-sharing programs
such as KaZaa, Napster, Gnutella, iMesh, CuteMX, Scour, Exchange,
Morpheus and FreeNetfile; it may not be legal to do so. Most material
is copyrighted and obtaining or offering such material in violation
of the U.S. copyright law may be punishable with civil and criminal
penalties, including prison time and monetary damages. When copyright
holders resort to legal actions, there is little the University
will be able to do to protect those who infringe copyright.
You may believe that sharing of copyrighted materials is unlikely
to be noticed, but this is not the case. Copyright holders and
their agents use automated methods to identify infringements.
Even modest sharing may be noticed. In August, the RIAA brought
lawsuits against 261 individuals for illegally sharing copyrighted
music. Of these, 52 settled during September for amounts ranging
from $2,500 to $10,000.
In compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),
UNC-Chapel Hill expeditiously takes action when notified of potential
DMCA violations from computer systems located on the campus network.
Incidents are referred to various campus officials, and appropriate
actions are taken to stop unauthorized downloading or distribution
of copyrighted materials. In some cases, the university may also
take disciplinary actions. The UNC-Chapel Hill Guidelines for
Compliance are available for online review at http://www.unc.edu/policy/copyinfringe.html.
We also encourage you to consider the information security risk
associated with the use of peer-to-peer file sharing applications.
Beginning in August of 2003, we have seen an increase in the number
of computer viruses introduced via file sharing applications.
Additionally, many of these programs share information by default.
This can be a significant risk if you store confidential information
such as patient records on your computer system. For this reason,
individual Schools or units with data requiring high security
may have determined that individual users in those units may not
peer-to-peer file sharing applications.
Of course, there are legitimate uses for file-sharing software.
We will ensure that the legal use of peer- to-peer software, remains
unimpeded at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Thank you for your consideration of this very important topic.
For more information about these issues, see http://www.unc.edu/policy/copyright.html
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For assistance with removing peer-to-peer
file sharing applications and mp3s or other materials, contact
your departmental computer support professionals or call 962-HELP.
Stephen A Jarrell
Interim Vice Chancellor for IT Provost
Chief Information Officer
Executive Vice Chancellor