The Office of Technology (OT) has shut off access to the Internet for hundreds of BU students in the last two weeks as a result of copyright infringement notices from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) or the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). These notices include the names of the individual media files (music, television programs or films) that are illegally uploaded or downloaded and the names of the students who are engaged in this activity. Since this violates both federal law and the university acceptable use policy, the OT is obliged to shut off the accounts of students named in the notices and keep them off the network until such time as the offending files are removed from their computers.
The unauthorized sharing of copyrighted materials is illegal and students are subject to prosecution and possible fines under federal copyright laws. In the recent past, students at Bloomsburg and other PASSHE institutions have been fined thousands of dollars for sharing media files illegally across university networks. It does not matter if “everyone” is doing it and it does not matter how little the shared files cost if purchased legally. If you are one of the students named in a complaint, then you may face prosecution and fines that can amount to thousands of dollars.
The OT strongly recommends that all students remove any illegal files they may have on their computer and also remove the peer to peer (P2P) sharing applications that facilitate this activity.