Peer-to-peer sharing poses consequences

Celia Fernandez

Students thinking about obtaining music or movies illegally may want to think twice before they hit the download button.

Why should I care?

– Many students do not realize the ramifications of illegal Peer-to-Peer.

– Many students do not fully understand what qualifies as Peer-to-Peer sharing.

Since the Higher Education Opportunity Act was signed into law Aug. 12, 2008, all universities are required to set up control policies against illegal file sharing also known as Peer-to-Peer.

Peer-to-Peer allows students to download and share music, movie and video game files. Students are able to share files with other people who are connected to the software.

“Peer-to-Peer is like the Chex Mix of the Internet,” Scott Borland, sophomore visual communication design major, said.

Some popular Peer-to-Peer sites include and In order for these programs to be used legally, students can only download material that isn’t copyrighted. Copyrighted materials downloaded off the site are considered illegal.

“I haven’t tried it on campus, but at home, I go into Google and look into sites with free downloads,” Borland said. “But if it’s a shady site that looks like it has a billion viruses, then I won’t download anything.”

In order to avoid any risk of receiving a copyright infringement, students are recommended to use websites such as and, according to Kent State University security.

Getting caught with illegally downloaded copyrighted material can lead to a lawsuit with fines up to $250,000 per movie file and $150,000 per music file.

Students caught with illegal downloads may not only face a lawsuit from different industries but will also have their Internet on campus taken away. Students will not gain access again until they have taken an educational program and received a score of 100 on a test given at the program.

Contact Celia Fernandez at [email protected].