Emporia State University's Peer to Peer File Sharing Statement

Emporia State University’s security policies are in place not only to help protect ESU’s information, but to set standards on acceptable computing using ESU’s Internet access. ESU’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy states:

“..users of Internet services and equipment and equipment provided by ESU are responsible for their compliance with all copyright laws pertaining to information they place on or retrieve from the Internet.”

ESU's DMCA policy also references unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. Copyrighted material includes but is not limited to music, movies, games and software. In some instances, unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material is performed from a computer using peer-to-peer file sharing applications.

"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 coyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement."

Distributing copyrighted works without explicit permission from the copyright owner is considered theft and is a violation of ESU policy and Federal copyright law. Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject students to civil and criminal liabilities including, but not limited, to:

  1. Actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed
  2. "Willful" infringement up to $150,000 per work infringed
  3. Court costs
  4. Attorney fees
  5. "Willful" infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense


With each peer-to-peer file sharing notification of alleged copyright infringement, ESU is held to a standard to:

  1. Identify the computer used during the alleged incident using information given in the notification
  2. Remove the computer from the ESU network
  3. Notify the computer owner to remove the copyrighted material
    1. If the computer owner is a student, the Student Conduct Coordinator will be notified
    2. If the computer is assigned to an employee, the appropriate Vice President or Provost will be notified
  4. Verify the copyrighted material is removed prior to allowing the computer back onto the network


If further copyright infringements occur, the computer owner could lose ESU network access permanently.

Legal Alternatives

Legal alternatives to accessing online music, movies and games are listed below. Most of these services include licenses that allow you to copy and store on your computer for your personal use only. ESU offers these recommendations but does not endorse any of the options and is not held liable for any fees or terms of conditions.


EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. This group suggests legal alternatives for accessing content.

Free Music

Subscription Music

Pay Per Track Music

Free Video

Subscription Video

  • Netflix (they have a streaming offering)

Per Item Video (rent or buy)


Additional Resources

There are several sites which have information on piracy and what you can do to keep from violating copyright laws: