Operations and Facilities policies and procedures

Policy 07:18:00

Computer Use and File Sharing


To mitigate exposure of Platt College to security risks and liabilities associated with the irresponsible use of file sharing peer-to-peer (P2P) applications on College resources.

This policy shall apply to all computer workstations, laptops, servers, networked appliances, and any other device capable of participating in a file sharing P2P network if such device is owned by Platt College; or any device utilizing Platt College network resources, even if that device is owned privately or by a third party. This policy applies to all Platt College faculty, staff, and students , including all personnel affiliated with third parties at such time they are using any resource described above.

Revision Responsibility: Coordinator of IT Services

Responsible Executive Office: Chief Financial Officer

Created in new format: August 7, 2012



P2P (peer-to-peer), in the context of this policy, is defined as direct data communication between two or more network capable devices over the Internet or other network, usually for the purpose of sharing any data file (including, but not limited to: music, pictures, video, software, and documents).

P2P network, in the context of this policy, is defined as a collection of distributed network-capable devices participating in P2P activity.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) application is defined as any application that allows a network-capable device to participate in one or more P2P networks.  
Sharing, in the context of this policy, describes the action and activity of making any data file available to one or more P2P networks.

Uploading describes network trafficking of data files originating from the College network and destined for an external network.

Downloading describes network trafficking of data files originating form an external network and destined for the College network.

The Platt College network and networking resources describe all materials and devices owned by the College and used to provide network connectivity to any network capable device. This includes all jacks, cable, hubs, wireless access points, switches, and routers.

Prohibited Activity

This policy strictly prohibits the distribution, downloading, uploading, or sharing of any material, software, data, document, sound, picture, or any other file that is:

  • Specified as illegal by any federal or state law, statute, proclamation, order, or decree.
  • Copyrighted and not authorized for distribution by the copyright owner.
  • Considered to be proprietary, privileged, private, or otherwise vital to the operation of the College; including, but not limited to, personnel, student, financial, or strategic records and documents, or any material governed by federal and state regulations.
  • Any virus or malware for the purpose of deployment or implementation with ill-intent.

Any P2P activity is strictly forbidden in the cases of:

  • Computer labs.
  • Computer workstations and other network devices readily accessible to multiple users.
  • Computer workstations and other network devices used in daily operation by areas and departments heavily affected by federally mandated regulatory compliance.
  • Laptops, computer workstations, and any other network capable device.

Users of the College resources may not attempt to circumvent, bypass, defeat, or disrupt any device, method, or technology implemented by the College for the purpose of P2P mitigation.

Rights and Responsibilities

College students, faculty, and staff shall bear legal/financial responsibility for events resulting from their own use of P2P applications.  If the College receives a complaint from a copyright holder, the College notifies the individual involved and passes along any information received from the copyright holder to that individual. Platt College does not supply any information to the copyright holder about the individual involved unless a valid subpoena is presented.


Any faculty, staff, or student found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination of employment in accordance with procedures defined by College policies.

In addition, any external entity, contractor, consultant, or temporary worker found to have violated this policy may be held in breach of contract, and as such, may be subject to grievances or penalties allowed by such contract.

For more information on “fair use” and copyright laws please go to:

Some music, movies and television shows can be legally obtained through online subscription services or from sites officially permitted by the copyright holders to offer certain downloads. Use the following sites as alternatives to illegal downloading (see educause legal content)

The college reserves the right to suspend or terminate network access to any campus user if the violation is deemed severe or the use is impacting the operation of the network. NACC must report any violations to appropriate authorities for criminal or civil prosecution. In addition, violators may be referred to the college discipline committee which may impact college enrollment.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.