JARED ANGLE / THE EAGLE
The Office of Information Technology reported 212 AU students were suspected of downloading files illegally or infringing on copyrights through peer-to-peer file sharing during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Student Conduct instructed students to remove the file sharing software.
“The Student Conduct office processed seven complaints for alleged second offenses,” said Rosie McSweeney, director of student conduct and conflict resolution services in an email.
However, McSweeney could not be reached in time for publication to clarify if the seven complaints resulted in severe consequences.
A warning is the only consequence given after a student is first found to have shared files illegally, McSweeney said in an email. However, students can be subject to more severe consequences such as removal from housing or suspension if there are additional violations.
Student conduct violations are not something students should take lightly, McSweeney said in an email. Student Conduct keeps records of all violations for up to seven years after the date of the violation.
Additionally, “suspension and dismissal files are maintained permanently and released to third parties permanently,” she said.
Student Conduct sent an email to all AU students on Aug. 28 about AU’s current policy on peer-to-peer file sharing.
“AU respects the rights of copyright owners…and is committed to implementing procedures and policies to support their rights without infringing on legal use of those materials by individuals,” the email stated.
AU allows students to borrow music CDs or movies at the AU Bender Library Media Center or the Katzen Music Library free of charge.
Punishment for illegal downloading does not only affect AU students. Boston University graduate Joel Tenenbaum was fined $675,000 for downloading two dozen songs through file sharing in 2009, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The U.S. Supreme court declined to hear the BU graduate’s appeal in May 2012.
BBC News reported monitoring firms can watch what students download when they are on a university’s wireless network, according to a Birmingham University study.
“An illegal file-sharer downloading popular content would be logged by a monitoring firm within three hours,” the BBC article said.
What the logs could be used for remains unclear, Tom Chothia a Birmingham University professor told BBC.