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File Sharing and IP Rights

The College expressly prohibits any member of our community from using its network to download or distribute copyrighted audio, video or software files.

Colleges and Universities across the country have seen a dramatic increase in the use of file sharing software that enables the user to freely upload and download audio, video and software materials across the Internet. These programs have considerable impact on the college in a number of ways:

  • They give any computer user the ability to easily distribute and collect digital media in the form of songs, movies and software that is often copyrighted.
  • The uncontrolled use of programs such as BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer software has such an overwhelming and negative impact on the network that functions like email, portal access and web use are often rendered unusable.
  • They put the college and its students in legal jeopardy when members of the MICA community use these programs to violate federal law through the distribution of copyrighted material.
  • They allow the user’s computer and the College network to be open to harmful intrusion by viruses, worms, spyware and other harmful programs that have a negative impact on computer use.

MICA’s Dormitory Networks

MICA currently provides 500MB Internet bandwidth equal to the dormitories. This service is a resource that must be shared by all students. Most users in the dormitories use wifi as their primary means of accessing the Internet. The wifi network is made up of multiple wireless access points distributed across the campus, working in coordination with each other. The bandwidth for each access point is not shared with another. Therefore, if many people are streaming video from the Internet at the same time, their Internet access will be slower. We recommend strongly that dormitories with wired jacks use network cables when the wifi network seemed congested. The wired network is much faster than the wifi because the lines are dedicated paths to the same switch that the wifi access points are plugged in. Approximately 60% of bandwidth coming into the dorms is made-up of video files. This traffic is made up mostly of Netflix Streaming, Youtube, and other video services. This statistic is an average of the total uploads and downloads across the network. At times, during the evenings, for example, audio and video uploads and downloads consume almost 100% of the bandwidth on most of the wifi access points. We are aware that Leake and Glace Hall users do not have wired access and we have increased the number of wireless access points in those locations. We suggest users in wifi-only Internet access dormitories recognize that the wifi access points are shared with their neighbors and limit the use of high-definition streaming to times of low usage such as mid-afternoons.

MICA’s Policy

We want to remind all members of the MICA community of our policy on Internet use.

  • MICA prohibits the use of its network for the distribution of any copyrighted material for which the distributor does not have permission from the owner.
    Copyright owners have been and will continue to prosecute those who break the law in this way. They have the technology and ability to identify individual users who violate copyright laws.
  • The network is a shared resource. Its purpose in our environment is to advance and facilitate education, research, communication and artistic expression. Members of the MICA community agree not to use the network in any way that adversely affects network performance for the rest of the community.
  • Members of the MICA community are not allowed to operate a computer that is used as a network server on the MICA network without the express permission of the Office of Technology. Distributing digital media through the use of peer-to-peer programs constitutes operating a server.

Using File Sharing Programs Appropriately

If you choose to use file sharing programs on your computer, make certain you follow these important guidelines.
1. Turn off the sharing function of the program. This will ensure that your computer is not acting as a server to allow the rest of the world to access the files on your computer.
2. Empty out the shared folder of its contents each time you use one of these programs.
3. Do not leave your computer on overnight or while you are in class with one of these programs running.
4. Make certain you know how to EXIT one of these programs. Often, just quitting the program does not really shut it down. It can run in the background without you knowing it.

Our Community

We know that the MICA community shares our commitment to using our network responsibly and legally. As artists, we understand the importance of respecting the rights of others in sharing the resources we use together and in honoring the legal rights of other artists.