Policies & Security

File Sharing FAQ

This FAQ is designed to provide Students & Parents, Penn Faculty, and Staff with information about the DMCA and the risks associated with downloading and sharing copyrighted material via the Internet.

It's OK for me to download songs or movies that I paid for but I've lost.

FACT - Paying for a song or movie does not give you the right to download it for free if you lose it nor does it provide you with permission to duplicate or distribute copies to others.

It's OK for me to download a copy of a TV program because I forgot to record it.

FACT - Downloading a TV program without the authorization of the copyright holder is infringement.

It's ok to download material that ís not available in the US or from outside US sources.

FACT - It is the copyright holder who determines where and in what formats their material can be made available. Just because something is not readily available does not make it ok to download.

It's okay to share music, movies, or games that I've actually purchased.

FACT - Purchasing copyrighted material does not give you the right to share or distribute that material to others. Copyright owners have the sole right to distribute copies of their protected work.

I'm safe using P2P software every once in a while to download because I never share my music and that is what really catches the attention of the RIAA.

FACT - Many P2P services have a default setting to share all music in the folders where you put your downloaded songs. These settings can be re-established each time an update is downloaded from the service, so turning this feature off does not protect you.

Can filesharing give my computer a virus?

FACT - Many writers of malicious software disguise their viruses, worms, keystroke loggers, and other malware as popular music or TV programs. Unsuspecting downloaders think they're downloading a file for entertainment, but when they launch the file a malevolent payload is released.

Downloading music, videos, and games from the internet is free and anonymous.

FACT - Copyright holders can trace illegal downloading or uploading (sharing) of copyrighted materials to your computer's IP address which in turn can be traced to you.

My roommate says that if I install P2P software, I can download anything and not worry.

FACT - Downloading and sharing copyrighted material is infringement.

My friend put the P2P software on my computer, so itís their fault I got a notice not mine.

FACT - If it is your computer, it is your legal responsibility.