UAB IT is currently blocking certain peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing protocols. P2P protocols are cited in copyright infringement cases brought against students and employees at a number of educational institutions by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other media companies.
Recent trends across the country also show an increasing number of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints for distributing copyrighted works over peer-to-peer protocols. Students and Employees should be aware that copyright infringement is not only against UAB policy, but also federal law.
UAB IT uses an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) device to monitor network activity for malicious or unwanted behavior. The IPS also allows for real time blocking of selective P2P protocols which will reduce our risk of receiving DMCA complaints and promote compliance with the UAB Acceptable Use Policy regarding copyright violations.
UAB IT does not block protocols currently being used for legitimate purposes. Streaming content such as YouTube should not be affected by the change. There are several options available to users who wish to participate in legal downloading of media, such as Rhapsody, Spotify, ITunes music store and Amazon mp3.
Users encountering connectivity issues as a result of these changes may contact AskIT for assistance at 205-996-5555.
Digital Copyright Compliance / HEOA Compliance
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) includes provisions to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. UAB's policy concerning such copyright and licensing violations can be found in the Acceptable Use of Computer and Network Resources document. The specific, applicable example of a violation from that policy document is:
"Copyright and licensing violations including, but not limited to, providing or obtaining illegal copies of software or digital media (movies, videos, music, etc.) for which legal permission to distribute or possess has not been granted."
Detection and Response
In an effort to comply with HEOA and effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of materials by users of the UAB network, UAB blocks many peer-to-peer protocols primarily associated with copyright infringement. When UAB IT receives a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notification indicating unauthorized copying of material, UAB IT disables the associated network port and/or wireless connection and notifies the affected user or department. In order to re-enable the network port UAB requires violators to meet with an IT Help Desk representative to discuss the offense and the impact of the violation. Violators are required to bring their system to the Help Desk to ensure that all relevant file sharing software and infringing content has been removed
On subsequent infringement notices, students are referred to the Office of Non-academic Student Conduct. Network access is blocked until we get approval from the Office of Non-academic Student Conduct. Employees are referred to their appropriate departmental management for handling.
Alternative (Legal) Online Sources for Copyrighted Materials
Many legal sources exist for copyrighted material such as movies and music - some are free and others are for-fee. UAB's Mervyn H. Sterne Library maintains a website of Legal Media Downloads with links to many of the sites. They are provided only as a resource and no endorsement is intended for any of the listed sites.
Links to Related Policies
- Acceptable Use of Computer and Network Resources
- Non-Academic Student Conduct
- Other IT Related Policies