File Sharing Copyrighted material is More Than Just Free Music, Games and Movies… It's a CRIME!

3 Strikes Policy Regarding General Misuse of the University Network
CSU’s Acceptable Use Policy
Where to get network access while your Housing network access is blocked
What is a DMCA violation and why should I care?
Instructions for Disabling File-Sharing
Music Subscription Services - Legally Download Music

You are breaking United States law to reproduce and distribute any copyrighted material unless you have authorization from the copyright owner. This is specifically a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is a copyright law passed in 1998 by the United States Congress. Colorado State University prohibits the use of its networks and systems for the purpose of committing violations of United States law. The software, music, and motion picture industries CAN and DO track copyrighted files on the Internet.

A first time violation of the DMCA law commonly results in a notification to remove the offending computing device from the university's network, but can be punishable by up to 3 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. CSU is required by law to respond to legal notices to remove offending systems from the CSU network (while keeping the individual user information private), or to respond to a legal court issued subpoena to provide the identify of the individual associated with the offense. Students who share copyrighted files will have their network privileges revoked and may be subject to both lawsuit and university disciplinary action.

3 Strikes Policy Regarding General Misuse of the University Network

All users of the university network must abide by the Acceptable Use Policy. This can be viewed at

  1. For the first documented incident of misuse of the network, the student's access to the Housing network is denied and a letter is mailed to the student letting them know what the reported misuse is. They are asked to re-read the Acceptable Use Policy and they must take their system to the CSU Computer Diagnostics Center at the Morgan Library (491-7276) where the system is scanned and cleared of any file sharing programs, viruses, spyware, etc. that are found. THERE WILL BE A $45 CHARGE FOR THIS SERVICE.  Only after the CSU Computer Diagnostics Center notifies Housing Technology that the system is clean will it be permitted Housing network access.  This notification can take 1 business day after the system is returned, so access may not be restored until the next business day.
  2. On a second documented misuse incident, access to the Housing network is again denied and not only must the user have their system cleared by the CSU Computer Diagnostics Center, as mentioned above, but the student must also contact the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services (CRSCS) for further discussion of the incident and possible disciplinary action.  A CHARGE OF $100 WILL BE ASSESSED ON THE SECOND VIOLATION by the CSU Computer Diagnostics Center. After Housing Technology is notified by the CSU Computer Diagnostics Center and Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services that the student has complied with the requirements, Housing network access will then be restored.
  3. The third time documented misuse is received, Housing network access is permanently denied and the student is again directed to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services office for any disciplinary action that may be required.

Grounds for immediate and permanent Housing network termination include, but are not limited to, hosting a child pornography site, identity theft, extortion or attempting to break into any financial institution or government site. These types of violations are immediately turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency, in addition to the University disciplinary office.

Where to get network access while your Housing network access is blocked

If you have immediate academic needs that require network access, there are a number of alternative resources that you can utilize.

  • Contact the Housing Technology Help Desk at 491-4734 (8-5 M-F) and ask to discuss your case. Temporary access to the Housing network can be arranged on a case by case basis.
  • Utilize computer resources available to CSU students at the Morgan Library or within your own Academic College, such as computer labs or computer kiosks.
  • Utilize a Lory Student Center computer kiosk.

What is a DMCA violation and why should I care?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), is a copyright law passed in 1998 by the United States Congress.

A common misconception is that a violation occurs due to illegally downloading games, music or movies. A DMCA violation is almost always caused by your computer files being accessible by anyone from the Internet. In that sense, you are acting as a distributor for copyrighted material. The recording industry will scan the university's network to see if a computer is accessible from the Internet, and if so will scan the computer's folders that are accessible to see if they contain any of their copyrighted material. If copyrighted material is accessible from that computer, a notice is sent to the university indicating the date, time, file name, file sharing program used, and IP address that was accessed.

It is important to note, ANYONE on the Internet can access your computer's folder(s) if they are configured as an open file share. File sharing programs make changes to your computer settings to permit this open access. This is why file sharing is a dangerous practice and can lead to identity theft. Often file sharing programs will also contain malware that may infect your system or give greater access to a specific person for illegal purposes. Are you concerned that anyone on the Internet may be connecting to your computer and looking at your files or personal information?

There are two types of DMCA notices; a "take down" notice, or a "preservation of records" notice. A "take down" notice is a legal request to the university to remove the offending system from the network and not permit access until the offending system will no longer act as a distributer of copyrighted material. University IT staff use authentication logs to identify the owner of the computer that caused the offense and block the system's network access. No information about the computer user is provided to the agency that notified the university of the offense in the case of a "take down" notice. There is no release of personal information by Housing Technology Services.

A notice for "preservation of records" is a legal notice to preserve log files and records that will provide the identity of the user associated with the offense. This notice is sent when an agency intends to sue the individual responsible for distributing copyrighted material and is a legal step taken in advance of a court issued subpoena to the university. The CSU Legal office is the only one who will provide information about a user in response to a subpoena. User information may be provided by Housing Technology Services to the CSU Legal office, but is NEVER directly released to any external agency.

In recent years, some "take down" notices have also included a "settlement request" and threatens further legal action. In such cases, residents are directed to Student Legal Services in the Lory Student Center for legal counsel and to potentially have them act as an intermediary to maintain anonymity of the user. We STRONGLY recommend talking with Student Legal Services in such cases.

Instructions to Disable File-Sharing

While use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs is NOT illegal and there are legitimate uses, it is strongly recommended that you do not use any file-sharing programs.

The links below are some commonly used peer-to-peer programs. These programs are often hard to completely remove from your system as they may contain malware that will reload the program or simply lie to you that it was removed. We recommend that you take your system to the CSU Computer Diagnostics Center in the Morgan Library to help you remove the file-sharing software.

If you wish to try to remove the file-sharing program yourself, make sure you run a full virus scan of your system, as well as using a program that looks for "rootkits" such as malwarebytes. Each of the following links contains instructions on how to disable the program, so that you will no longer be sharing your files. If the program that you are using is not on this list, you are still using a peer-to-peer contact when you share files. Please contact Technology Services for further assistance: (970) 491-4734 or email:

You should ensure that your system is set to prevent sharing of files from your computer to others by disabling your P2P software's uploading capability. Peer-to-peer programs turn your computer into a server, or distributor of material, and allow others to download content from it.

For instructions on how to disable file sharing click the link for the program you are currently using:



  • Aimster (Note: Aimster is now called Madster and is now a subscription service. The current version of the software may differ from what is shown here.)







(Above information provided by the University of Chicago, 2003)

Downloading music doesn't have to be illegal: Many online music subscription services like iTunes, Rhapsody (, and offer pay-per-song rates or flat membership rates for unlimited downloading that do not infringe on copyright laws. If you are interested in downloading music without breaking any laws, consider membership in one of these services.