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Peer-to-peer file sharing notice


To: All University of Utah students, faculty, and staff
From: Steve Hess, Chief Information Officer

Date: January 1, 2024

Subject: Peer-to-peer file sharing and copyright violations annual notice

This annual notice is sent to all students, faculty, and staff as required by federal law. The purpose of this memo is to officially notify all students, faculty, and staff that it is a violation of federal law and university policy to share and/or distribute copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. Violators may be subject to civil and criminal prosecution under federal law, as well as personal sanctions specified in university policy.

The university receives complaints from representatives of the motion picture, music recording, and software industries. The majority of complaints are directly related to the use of file-sharing software, such as BitTorrent and similar programs.

File-sharing software is most commonly used to download music, games, movies, and other media. Many do not realize that this software may turn your personal computer into a server, or upload site, even if that was not your intent. Files on your network-connected computer or device may then be shared with every other person connected to the internet. It is imperative that 1) users refrain from illegal file sharing, and 2) users disable the file uploading capability of any file-sharing systems.

Industry representatives monitor the internet (including file sharing on the University of Utah's networks) to discover incidents of illegal file sharing. When violations are discovered on the University of Utah's network, they contact the university and demand that the offending material be removed from the network. To protect the user and the university from further culpability under federal copyright law or university policy, the university will take appropriate steps to remove offending material from the network for which a complaint of copyright infringement has been received.

Users involved in illegal file sharing will be required to contact the UIT Help Desk and sign a document stating that they have disabled the file-sharing function of their software. If the user is named in additional complaints, they may lose long term access to network service. Students will be referred to the Dean of Students, staff to Human Resources, and faculty to the cognizant Vice President for further review and action.

Action taken by the university to remedy a violation does not preclude the copyright holder from seeking civil and/or criminal prosecution for copyright infringement. The law specifies civil liability of litigation costs, attorney fees, and actual damages, or statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 for each work infringed, and, under certain circumstances, criminal penalties up to $250,000, and/or imprisonment. In addition, actions taken to circumvent technological measures that are used to control access to copyrighted works or to prevent infringement of the exclusive rights of copyright owners are punishable by awards of statutory damages of $200 to $2,500 per act of circumvention.

EDUCAUSE has provided a list of legal download options at These options are not endorsed by the university and reflect only a small number of the services available on the internet.

Last Updated: 1/1/24