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General Security Practices
What is peer to peer (P2P) file sharing?
Peer to Peer file sharing is a way of transferring files between individual computers via the Internet. While this technology is fairly generic, it has come to be the method of choice for illegally distributing copyrighted works like music, movies and software.
P2P file sharing isn't just about stealing music and movies. What if I have a legitimate use for it?
To request an exception to our P2P block, please call the Technology Support Center at 314-516-6034. Be prepared to provide detailed information about the software you wish to use and your purposes for using it.
Why block P2P software in the first place?
Peer to Peer file sharing is not allowed on the Resident Network. Our Network Use Policy states "Activities that inhibit the ability of others to connect to or use the network are prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: unauthorized file-sharing, initiating denial of service attacks, initiating viruses or worms, and network scanning." P2P software is a major drain on campus technology resources. Left unchecked, P2P applications can and will consume all available campus network bandwidth. Without controls in place, individuals wouldn't be able to even check their e-mail reliably from campus because of the high traffic. P2P software also generates a disproportionate amount of work for the University's TSC and IT Security staff, both through the side effects of spyware-laden clients and through the effort needed to respond to DMCA complaints filed against UMSL students by the entertainment industry.
Our Acceptable Use Policy also contains statements on copyrighted materials on our network. The most common use for P2P sharing software is to distribute movies, music, and Software in direct violation of copyright law. Such use is neither ethical, nor does it demonstrate respect for intellectual property.
How Do I Know if My Computer has P2P Software on it?
Here's a partial list of some of the more common P2P programs that have the potential to trigger our block:
You can either remove the software or disable the file sharing portion of the software. However, many P2P programs can NOT be disabled and must be removed.
From Windows computers
To delete the program, go Start then Settings/Control Panel. Choose Add/Remove Programs. On the Install/Uninstall tab, click on the name of the program that you want to remove (Gnutella, KaZaA, etc.). Click on Add/Remove and answer yes when asked if you are sure that you want to remove the program. Repeat these steps if you have more than one program to remove, otherwise just close this screen and you are set.
From a MacIntosh computer
Double-click on the hard drive and then look under Applications for the software. Highlight the name of the software and drag the name to the trash can.
Legal File Access
You can get lots of media for free and for pay on the net. Here is a listing of a majority of those places. http://www.educause.edu/Resources/Browse/LegalDownloading/33381.