Practicing Conscientious Downloading

Think before you download. The majority of Internet threats are not clever enough to sneak onto your computer without you opening the door for them. Follow these guidelines to protect your computer and minimize the impact file sharing can have on other network users:

  • Never open e-mail attachments from people you don’t know. Never open suspicious and unexpected e-mail attachments, even from people you DO know.

  • Do not use file-sharing software. Not only is it illegal to download and share music and movies you do not own, they very often are packed with viruses and spyware. When downloading shareware and freeware, try to download from reliable and well-known sites. A list of legal alternatives for obtaining music and movies is available at http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent. Be cautious of less reputable sites or ones you haven't previously used.

  • Turn off your computer when you're not using it. This ensures there is no unmonitored network activity originating from your computer.

  • Download during off-peak hours when student bandwidth is highest. See the Networking page for more information.

  • Remember that sharing copyrighted material is against Trinity’s Regulations for the Use of Computing, Communications and Video Systems.

Copyright Law

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material regardless of the format of that material. This includes downloading of copyrighted material such as songs and movies. Copyright law is complicated and its interpretation is sometimes controversial.

In simple terms, it is possession of the file or song (or CD) when you have not paid for it that makes it illegal. The only time a copy of a file, song or movie is legal is when you own the CD, DVD, program or file and you use the copy only as a backup.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The RIAA and the MPAA are regularly scanning the Internet looking for illegal file sharing of copyrighted material. If they detect such activity they file a complaint using the DMCA. The DMCA specifies procedures that Trinity must follow when notified of a copyright violation by an individual using our network. If the copyright holder contacts Trinity (called an infringement notice) about a violation we will contact the violator and require removal of the offending material from his/her computer. If the material is not removed, the person's computer will be restricted from accessing the network. The individual has the right to claim that the material is not protected by copyright and then a legal process begins. Trinity students have had charges brought against them in the past.