Downloading copyrighted music and movies from the Internet to your personal computer without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and a violation of the College Honor Code.

Further, you should take extreme care to ensure that copyrighted material (whether you own it or not) is not being distributed through the use of a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing application that you may have installed on your computer.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) vigorously pursue infringements of copyrights owned by their individual members, as is their right under U.S. Copyright Law. Every semester many complaints are lodged by these organizations against members of the Wheaton College community. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), college administrators are required to cooperate in the pursuit of alleged violators.

Use of P2P file sharing applications is not strictly forbidden on Wheaton’s network. That is, installing and using a P2P application by itself does not constitute unacceptable behavior. However, use of these applications can consume an excessive amount of bandwidth and place unnecessary strain on the college’s local area network. These actions, especially for non-academic pursuits, can also be a violation of Wheaton’s Acceptable Use Policy.

The college does not monitor P2P traffic per se. However, if we are contacted by either the RIAA or the MPAA or, while researching the consumption of a large amount of bandwidth by a particular computer, we determine that there has been a copyright violation, the following actions will occur:

First offense

You will be notified by email that we believe a copyright violation has occurred, and you have 48 hours to demonstrate that you have permission to distribute the material or to stop distributing the material.

The Dean of Students Office will be notified of the policy violation and may decide to take the matter to the College Hearing Board.

Second offense

In addition to the actions above, your access to the campus network will be removed for the remainder of the semester in which the violation occurs.

Third and subsequent offenses

The Dean of Students Office will be notified of the policy violation and the matter will be referred to the College Hearing Board, which may impose additional sanctions. Your access to the campus network will be removed until the Hearing Board decides the case.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires all colleges and universities to offer legal alternatives to unauthorized downloading. Please visit the Legal Downloading page to see a listing of these sites.