File Sharing

FAQ - File Sharing

File Sharing

What is the RIAA?

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade association of the U.S. recording industry (or its member record companies). The RIAA serves to foster a business and legal climate for its members through protection of intellectual property rights and the First Amendment rights of artists as well as through monitoring and reviewing state and federal laws, regulations and policies.

What is the MPAA?

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is a trade association of the American motion picture, home video and television industries. The MPAA serves as an advocate for strong protection of the creative works produced and distributed by the industry and fights copyright theft around the world.

What is the Electronic Technology Usage Policy?

The Electronic Technology Usage Policy identifies the standards of use that all users (Faculty, Staff, Students and Guests) must agree to before using the shared computing resources of College of Western Idaho.

What are the penalties if CWI doesn’t comply with the DMCA and HEOA?


Noncompliance with the DMCA could cause the institution to lose its protection under the DMCA Safe Harbor provision for internet service providers and subject the college to significant monetary fines and potential legal action.


Because the reporting and disclosure requirements of the HEOA are linked to an institution’s participation in the Title IV federal student financial aid programs, the Secretary of Education is authorized to take administrative action, including the imposition of fines, against institutions that do not comply. The most severe penalty the Department of Education could impose for failure to comply, however, is a limitation or termination of the institution’s participation in the Title IV financial aid programs.

What is CWI required to do under the DMCA and HEOA?

Under the DMCA all Internet Service Providers aka Online Service Providers are required to:

  1. Register a designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office to receive notification of claims of copyright infringement.
  2. Promptly respond to any properly formatted notification of claim of copyright infringement also known as a DMCA takedown notice.
  3. Develop and maintain procedures for handling complaints of copyright infringement that occur on CWI’s network. The procedures must include:
    1. A procedure for terminating accounts of repeat infringers
    2. A procedure to accommodate and not interfere with standard measures used by copyright owners to identify and protect their works.
  4. Post the procedures on the college’s website
  5. Undertake an educational program to ensure that the campus community understands copyright law and promotes compliance with it.

For more information on the DMCA as it pertains to Colleges and Universities please refer to the Educause DMCA FAQ located here:

Under the HEOA All colleges and universities in the United States are required to develop a plan to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by the users of its network without unduly interfering with the educational and research use of the network. The plan must include the following:

  1. The use of 1 or more technology-based deterrents
  2. An educational component regarding appropriate and inappropriate use of copyrighted materials
  3. A description of the institution’s procedures for handling copyright infringement; and
  4. A required periodic review of the plan.

For more information on the HEOA as it pertains to Colleges and Universities please refer to the Educause HEOA Role Models web page located here:

How do I obtain this type of content legally?

EduCause has a list of websites available that will let you know legal sources to obtain copyrighted content online. You can visit their website and view the list here:

I had no idea that I was downloading or sharing copyrighted content. How do I determine if I have a P2P application installed on my computer and how do I remove or restrict it?

In order to protect yourself from copyright violations, we recommend that you remove all P2P software from your computer. This will eliminate the possibility of having any copyrighted material, which you own, being distributed to the public Internet. To remove any software on a Windows based machine, you should open your Control Panel and choose "Add Remove Programs" or on Vista/Windows 7 "Programs and Features" and select each software title that you want to uninstall. Usually a simple Google search will let you know if the title is related to P2P software or not. If you need assistance or have a question about the titles that you see, please contact the IT helpdesk at 208-562-3444.

Many users choose to configure their P2P software for downloading files, but they disable the feature to allow their files to be uploaded to the public. Many of the popular P2P applications have options that allow you to disable the uploading of files. If you choose to turn off the uploading of files in your P2P software please consult the help file specific to your application for directions.

I don’t always see the Anti-Piracy web page when downloading or sharing files using P2P does this mean that I wasn’t detected?

No, you will only receive the Anti-Piracy warning page when you are sanctioned. If you continue to download or share files between sanctions you will still be generating points toward the next level of sanction.

How are sanctions determined?

Every time you are detected sharing copyrighted works you earn points toward a sanction. The number of points earned depends on the type of content and whether or not we were able to positively identify the content as being shared. The device CWI uses to monitor for copyright violations uses signature files, much like an anti-virus program, to compare the content being downloaded against a database of known copyrighted works. If the device gets a positive match on a signature file a higher number of points are awarded than if the device can only match a file name of a particular work. Points are awarded for downloading or sharing the following types of content: Movies, Music, TV Shows, eBooks, Computer software and games. You also earn points for using an encrypted P2P client regardless of content.

I received the anti-piracy warning webpage but it doesn’t tell me what I was sharing or downloading. Why is this?

Most likely you are using a P2P client that encrypts the data that it is being shared or downloaded making it more difficult to detect the actual file names of the content being shared. Use of an encrypted P2P client is not allowed, under any circumstances, on the colleges’ network and will still earn points toward sanctions even if the content that was shared cannot be determined.

I received an Anti-Piracy Warning webpage, is this valid?

Yes, you have been detected sharing or downloading copyrighted content. This page will give you information on what content was detected; the length of your sanction (If any) and sources for legally downloading copyrighted content. The site looks like this:


What else may happen if I am found to be sharing copyrighted content?

Violating the rights of a copyright owner can result in fines in the form of settlements or statutory damages. The courts determine the fines associated with copyright infringement, and fines can range from $200 per violation to $150,000 per violation. In addition to the statutory damages, if you are found guilty of copyright infringement, you can be held accountable to pay costs and attorney’s fees related to litigation.