Information Security Office

P2P FAQ and Answers

What is P2P file sharing?

P2P stands for peer-to-peer, or computer-to-computer, and file sharing refers to downloading and uploading digital files over a network. P2P software needs to be installed to join a P2P network. P2P technology enables the sharing of computer resources and services, including information, files, and storage by direct exchange between systems, without the use of central servers.

Is BGSU blocking P2P?

Starting in August 2012, ITS will no longer allow P2P traffic for the exchanging of music, media, and other software.  This is enforced through a variety of network technologies that manage and prioritize network traffic.  Exceptions will be considered with proper justification.  Please contact infosec@bgsu.edu with any questions.

What are examples of P2P software?

Although not an exhaustive list the following are common P2P applications:

Ares, Azureus, BitComet, BitLord, BitTornado, BitTorrent, FlashGet, Gnutella, KaZaa, LimeWire, Morpheus, Shareaza, uTorrent, Xunlei/Thunder & eDonkey.

Are these programs illegal?

P2P programs are not illegal although they can cause unexpected problems. Many P2P programs are not well tested and may vary in quality. Users have reported configuration problems that have unintentionally shared their entire hard drive, including personal information, with other P2P users. Although P2P software is normally free to download, it may contain other unwanted software such as spyware, malware, or trojan software that can expose sensitive information or decrease processing performance of the computer.

So is file sharing illegal?

File sharing itself is not illegal but the sharing of copyrighted material is. Copyright refers to ownership of original works. Those owners decide specifically how the copyrighted works are to be used. An example of a music copyright organization is Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA), a group that works toward protecting copyright owner’s property.
Copyright owners and the organizations working to protect them often monitor file sharing networks, including universities, for copyright infringement.  When certain illegal activity is detected lawful action can be taken for proper restitution.

What are some examples of copyrighted materials?

Some examples are audio files, songs, books and motion pictures. When these are in digital form and shared over a network, without the copyright owner’s permission, legal problems can occur. For a FAQ regarding copyrights, go to the following link at the US Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/

What should I know about sharing copyrighted materials?

This can result in civil and criminal penalties. In addition, institutional disciplinary actions can result. For more information, see You and Copyright, File Sharing, and Peer to Peer Applications on the Office of the CIO’s website.

Are there legal ways to download or access media?

There are a number of legal music sites such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Napster, eMusic and Rhapsody. Go to the following link for more legal music downloading sites:

Legal music downloading sites

Are there network issues with P2P? 



P2P file sharing is network resource intensive. Without additional controls P2P can consume available network bandwidth and catastrophically affect the academic mission of the university network.
Additional bandwidth leads to additional costs. Unfortunately P2P file sharing traffic can quickly consume additional bandwidth.

Should I avoid installing P2P software on university owned equipment?

P2P software is not supported by the university and may cause unexpected problems. It is strongly discouraged to install P2P software on university owned IT equipment without legitimate academic need.

P2P software should NEVER be installed on university IT equipment that contains financial or sensitive information. P2P applications can lead to unintentional information exposures and other unwanted problems such as malware.

It is important to discuss P2P needs prior to installation with immediate supervisors. Call the Technical Support Center at 2-0999 if a specific network file is needed for academic purpose.

Where do I find the existing BGSU Information Technology Policies?

They are located on the Office of the CIO website. The following is a direct link:

http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/cio/page32228.html

Where can I find more information regarding P2P?

Go to the Educause Connect P2P File Sharing website at:

http://connect.educause.edu/term_view/P2P File Sharing