The University of Maine’s Electronic Communication Policy section 5, “Respect for Intellectual Property expressly forbids the posting of texts, images or audio works in disregard of copyright restrictions.” This means, in part, that the sharing of copyright protected audio files, such as mp3’s, software, movies/videos or images is forbidden as a part of this policy.
Peer to peer programs such as BitTorrent and Limewire by their nature share files. That is not to say that there are not legitimate uses for programs such as these. A legitimate use would be to share your own work, copyright protected or not, over these networks. However, sharing of others copyright protected work without their consent is expressly forbidden.
The University does not monitor for violations of copyright law or illegal file sharing. However, as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) for our students, we are obligated under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to act when we are notified that a violation has occurred on our network. It is for this reason that we will terminate a person’s internet connection until the IT Department can meet with that person and review the Electronic Communication Policy and the complaint received. If we receive another complaint regarding the same person we will terminate the person’s internet connection again and refer them to Judicial Affairs for the University for follow up.
If you have questions regarding copyright violation and sharing there are some good sources on the internet. These include Copyright.com, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
For more information on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and issues faced by University Information Technology please see the Educause website. For an exact text of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, see the Library of Congress website.
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