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University Policies

Illegal File Downloading and Bandwidth Use

Initiating Department: Student Affairs
Policy Type: Academic
Action Taken: New Policy Creation
Date of Development:
Date of Implementation:
Date Last Modified:
Next Review Date: 3/13/2010


All students who use the UMFK computer network must be aware that downloading music, movies, images and other digital, copyright protected files without paying for them is illegal.  Doing so constitutes the theft of copyright protected material and is punishable by serious fines. “Watch dog” companies and agencies that monitor computer networks and IP addresses inform us when someone on our network is downloading copyright protected songs, movies and other material. Again, all of these activities are illegal and are against the UMS Student Conduct Code.  Recently, several University of Maine System students, including some from UMFK, were charged with illegal downloading by the Recording Industry Association of America and their infractions have resulted in lawsuits that include thousands of dollars in fines.  This is a serious matter and the excuse that “everybody does it” is not a legitimate one.  As proprietors of the computer network, we (UMFK) are required to respond to these infractions. Please understand we are doing this not only for our protection, but yours as well. 

The following are the sanctions for illegal downloading on the UMFK computer network. 

1st Offense – Your access to our network will be suspended until you are able to talk to the Director of Student Affairs who will give you an official warning.  After this warning, your access will be suspended for one full calendar week; commencing on the day of your consultation with the Director of Student Affairs or his designee. 

2nd Offense – You will be charged for violating the UMS Student Conduct Code and the sanction will include a 90 day suspension of your network access.  Please note this suspension will not prevent you from completing academic work on our campus computers in our labs, but it will prevent access from your personal computer in the residence halls or at home. 

3rd Offense – You will be charged for violating the UMS Student Conduct Code and you will be permanently suspended from our network.  

 Remember, downloading a song or movie illegally is stealing; just like shoplifting in a department store is stealing. If you are downloading material illegally, stop immediately.  It is also important to remove any programs that allow for such activity from your computer.  Do not allow others to use your computer for such activity.  You are the person responsible for your computer and you log-in information.  If someone else perpetrates illegal activity on your computer or with your log-in, you will be held responsible. Bandwidth UseInternet access is a shared resource for everyone. We do not have an infinite amount of this resource. We have systems like telephones and air control units for heating and cooling that require internet access to work correctly. These systems use the same network connection that your personal computer uses to surf the web. When someone or a group of users download hundreds of files from the web it absorbs a lot of this shared internet resource. Many of these programs that you use to download music and movies create folder shares on your computer. These folder shares are where you save the files you downloaded and in turn are shared out to the world for other to download from you. So even if you are not downloading files you are allowing others to download from you, which is just as problematic. Setting up your computer to stream movies for others to view causes the same internet drain. When someone does these kinds of activities they cause problems with other vital systems that require internet connection. This leads to numerous problems and complaints. We have a system in place that monitors users that use extreme amounts of this shared resource. Typically when a user reaches a predefined limit their access will be throttled to a slower rate until the person stops what they are doing. The monitoring system notifies the UMFK IT department, if we receive continuous notification of a user that continues to be an internet glutton we will notify the Student Affairs office and provide them with log files that indicates excessive usage from a user. This user will then be penalized based on Student Affairs conduct rules. If you want to know your limits or to know what is good or bad you can always visit the UMFK IT department for answers to any of your computer questions. The penalties for inappropriate use of bandwidth are the same as the ones listed above for illegal downloading. Please heed this warning and refrain from this type of activity.

University of Maine System APL - Information Technology Acceptable Use
http://www.maine.edu/pdf/VI-BAcceptableUsePolicy.pdf