UNH CIS Signals

Quick Facts About Illegally Downloading and Sharing Copyrighted Movies and Music

Martin England

October, 2008

Rock OnOver the past year, a cross-departmental group effort between UNH Student & Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, and Computing & Information Services was established to inform the UNH community of the potential dangers and costs of illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted material, including music and movies. This group met with a student focus group to discuss the best educational methods. As a result, a segment filmed by WMUR television has been running on Channel 17 (UNH cable channel), posters and table tents have been distributed to dining halls and the MUB, and Ruckus™ has been promoted as a viable, legal alternative.

The following Quick Facts sheet was distributed at the Parents Resource Fair during June Orientation, but should be of interest to all members of the UNH community:

  • In fall 2007 and spring 2008 combined, over 1000 UNH students were notified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegally downloading and/or sharing copyrighted music. Many have paid settlement fees while others were subpoenaed to appear in court.

  • Nationwide, college students have received early settlement, or pre-litigation letters from the RIAA for illegally downloading and/or sharing copyrighted music. The letters offer to settle a claim against students at a “discounted” fee before a lawsuit is filed against them. Many students have settled those claims for $3000, while others went to court and were sued for up to $750 per song.

  • Many of these students were accused of unlawfully sharing copyrighted music by the use of programs including, but not limited to, Limewire, DC++, Bearshare, Ares, Morpheus, BitTorrent, and iMesh.

  • According to UNH student focus groups, the practice of illegally downloading and/or sharing copyrighted music and movies often starts at home. Please know that the RIAA will continue to actively search out evidence of copyright violations within college and university networks, including UNH.

  • UNH cannot protect its students, faculty, or staff from copyright complaints. The University’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) prohibits UNH students, faculty, and staff from using UNH IT resources for illegally activity, including the illegal downloading and/or sharing of copyrighted music and movies. Violation of the AUP will result in UNH network access restriction. Continued violations after students are notified will results in a Code of Conduct share of Failure to Comply. The AUP is available at unh.edu/cis/aup.html for further review.

  • As an alternative to the illegal practice of downloading and sharing of copyrighted music, UNH provides its students with free access to Ruckus™, a service providing free and legal music and movies to college students. For a fee, this service is also available to UNH faculty and staff. Please visit ruckus.com for more information.