Sep 282011
Authors: Jordan Jacoby

Despite the allure of free music, some CSU students don’t understand the consequences and legal implications of downloading tunes and sharing files, according to Kathleen Harward the director of Student Legal Services on campus.

“Even though chances of being caught are slim, we do know people who are being sued,” Harward said. “I would ask students to consider how cheap buying downloads would actually be compared to the fines they would have to pay.”

According the CSU code of conduct, students are prohibited from violating federal laws, something illegal downloading and file sharing falls under. If found infringing on copyright laws, students then become involved in a three-warning system implemented by the university.

When found guilty of copyright infringement by organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), fines start at $750 and can reach up to $30,000. However, for students on campus, the fines are not this drastic.

There are three offenses a student can face when they are involved with file sharing on campus. All three of the offenses first consist of the network access disabled from their computer. The student then has to take their computer to the Computer Repair Center, where it is cleared of all file-sharing programs — a service costing $45.

The second and third offense both begin with having the computer cleared of programs again. However, for the second offense the student has to contact Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services (CRSCS). After being caught a third time, the student is then called into a disciplinary hearing with the CRSCS.

“I think this is fair,” said senior biochemistry major Trevor Juth. “Two warnings should be enough to make someone learn not to do something.”

“Illegal downloading of music and movies isn’t fair to the artists who should be receiving money for their work,” Juth added.

Scott Baily, the director of Academic Computing and Networking Services, sends out an email each year informing students about the legalities of file sharing. Baily said he will be sending this email to all students within the next couple of weeks.

“I think students should read this email,” Baily said. “It is illegal, and the university takes the law seriously. And the students should do so as well.”

The University’s Acceptance Use Policy prohibits students from using the network for the distribution of copyrighted materials. Students must agree to this statement before having access to the CSU’s network. Students have to agree to not use the network to violate any copyrighted material.

“I can understand where CSU is coming from because they have an obligation to make sure they aren’t responsible for illegal downloading on their Internet,” said junior communications major A.J. Cohen.

When illegal file sharing is detected by a federal agency, an IP address is tracked to the location of where this downloading occurred. If a student has been participating in file sharing and their IP address has been detected, CSU is notified.

But, according to Baily, on a campus of more 25,000 students, not as many people fall victim to illegal downloading as some may think.

“I do not think it is a huge problem on the CSU campus,” Baily said. “There are between six to 12 notices a day of file sharing.”

Collegian writer Jordan Jacoby can be reached at

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