So what's the big deal about using Kazaa and other P2P programs?

So I have a virus... what do I do now?
So whats the big deal with
Kazaa and P2P programs?

Kazaa is a P2P program (peer to peer). In other words, you can give files to another person, and they have the option to take them from you. Yes, this seems harmless, but the University of Hartford has a strict policy against such programs.

P2P programs are used mainly for finding and downloading movies MP3's and images. Downloading movie files (especially if they arent even out on VHS or DVD yet) is a VERY bad idea. Not only does the University of Hartford frown upon downloading movies, but so does the movie industry. Remember the bright red "FBI Warning" in the beginning of VHS movies? That explains (in detail) that anyone found copying and distributing movies can face a $250,000 fine and face jail time. Contrary to belief, people CAN see exactly what you are downloading. The movie industry loves to target campuses because they know college students often have their own computers and access to a fast connection.

Downloading MP3's has become a nationwide commodity. P2P users were just recently able to access thousands of MP3's with the click of a button. With the latest wave of laws and protests by the music industry P2P users are now being fined thousands of dollars for having just one downloaded MP3 on their computer. The University of Hartford has also been cracking down on the use of P2P programs to download music. Yes, they CAN see you downloading MP3s, and YES they will shut off your internet.

Downloading images is a sticky subject. It is currently not as huge a problem as downloading MP3's, but downloaded copyrighted images still falls under the came category. Just make sure when you download an image off the internet it is either uncopyrighted or free to distribute. How can you tell? Honestly, you cant. Just be careful what you download, and how you use it.

WHat about AOL Instant Messanger? Can I send files through AIM? Sadly, the same rules apply to AOL Instant Messanger. Although it is much harder to find out if people are sending files through AOL, there is a possibility that someone can find out. Again, be careful what you send, and who you send it to. Also try to keep in mind that if you send something to your friend, and that person sends it to someone else who is cought with it, it could end up being traced back to you.

What about taking files directly from the internet? I downloaded an MP3 off a web site that advertised free music ... yes, yes, yes ... its all the same thing. However, there is a much smaller chance that you will be found. Because you are taking the file for your "own personal use" and not sharing the file with anyone else, you will probably not get in trouble. If you download a song or video clip directly from the maker, it is A-OK. Just watch out for sites that advertise "FREE" or "NO CHARGE". They are oftentimes illegal sites.

I hope this article cleared up some common concerns among the HRC residents. Just keep in mind ITS can see EVERYTHING you do, so watch out. If your internet does get disconnected from the internet and you suspect it was from downloading illegal files, call ITS at extension 5999 and talk to one of the technicians there. You might have to beg, but you can probably get connected again.


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