File-Sharing Policy | Methodist College

File-Sharing Policy

All members of the Methodist College community, including staff, faculty, and students, are required to follow the Technology Eligibility and Usage policy of both Methodist College and our parent organization, Carle Health. Carle Health provides the network for Methodist College and requires that each member of the Methodist College community sign and date a Technology Usage agreement. You can obtain the form from the Methodist College Support Analyst. The Technology Eligibility and Usage policy requires that you not share copyrighted material over the Methodist network via web pages, peer-to-peer file-sharing software, and email. This applies to personally-owned computers as well as Methodist College-owned computers if they are accessing the Methodist network.

Any sharing of copyrighted materials on the Methodist College network without proper permission is a violation of the policy and may lead to disciplinary proceedings and, in some cases, legal action.

Internet traffic and accesses on the Methodist network are managed by the firewall solution in place. The firewall is configured to only allow HTTP and HTTPS traffic from the "inside" (secure) network to the "outside" (non-secure) network. Peer-to-peer sites, SMTP, and instant messaging are examples of traffic that is blocked. Outside (non-secure) traffic is blocked by default and exceptions are made on an as-needed basis for services such as email, internal web sites, and information sharing. Business needs and applications drive exception requirements. A formal request is sent to the Information Technology department to request an exception and must identify the business requirement, application, and IT resources that will use the application.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Software

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing allows users to share files online through an informal network of computers running the same software. File-sharing programs such as KaZaA, Grokster, Morpheus, Gnutella, etc. are network-based programs that allow users to download and distribute music files from computer to computer across networks using P2P protocols. You could download copyright-protected material, pornography, or viruses unintentionally. Or, you could mistakenly allow other people to copy files you don't mean to share, since file-sharing software allows you to search the Internet for files. These programs are blocked on the Methodist network.

Recreational downloading of copyrighted materials is a violation of both federal law and Methodist College policy. The use of file-sharing (peer-to-peer or P2P) programs to trade music and movies over the Internet is illegal and violates copyright laws. The distribution of copyrighted material from your computer, including music, games, and videos for which you do not have the owner's permission is a violation of federal law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The law is enforced by federal investigators, the owners of copyrighted materials, and organizations acting on their behalf.

Copyrighted Materials

When using a computer network to share copyrighted materials with others, both the people making copies (downloading) and those offering such materials to others (serving) via a P2P network are infringing upon copyright owners' rights and violating federal and international copyright law. Copyright infringement occurs whenever you make or distribute songs, videos, software, cartoons, photographs, stories, and novels without authorization from the copyright owner. Infringement can also occur when one person purchases an authorized copy but allows others to reproduce additional "pirated" copies.

Methodist College's policy regarding student use of computer resources clearly states that a student who reproduces or distributes copyrighted materials in electronic form without permission from the material's owner may be removed from the Methodist computer network and may face further disciplinary action or even legal action.


All members of the Methodist College community must abide by the Workstation Usage policy outlined in the HIPAA policies of Carle Health.