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Peer to Peer Sharing for Students

Q: What risks are there in sharing files on the Internet?

A: Whether you share files with others in online communities like Facebook and MySpace or through Peer-To-Peer (P2P) file sharing applications like Limewire and Morpheus, you face the risk of virus, Trojan horse, worm and spyware infections, identity theft and fraud. You also risk potentially violating federal copyright laws if you share copyrighted software programs, books, movies, videos and songs without a license to do so.

Q: What can I do to reduce my risks?

A: To reduce your risks when filing sharing:

  • Install antivirus, antispyware, and firewall program and keep it up to date and running. Students can obtain Symantec Endpoint to provide antivirus, antispyware, and firewall functionality for FREE! It can be downloaded from URSA.
  • Regularly install updates for your computer’s operating system.
  • Only accept file downloads or click on links from people you know and trust, or when you have permission from the copyright owner.
  • Before you install any program on your computer, especially a P2P application, read that program’s documentation and disable, if possible, file-sharing access.
  • If you do allow file-sharing access, be sure your computer settings don’t allow access to applications, folders or files containing personal information such as passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers.
  • It is best to assume that all material is copyrighted. The University cannot protect you from a copyright complaint. In fact, it may be legally required to assist a complainant in pursuing action against you.

Q: Everybody I know shares music and video files online for personal use. What’s the big deal?

A: If you were to receive a pre-litigation letter from the RIAA or similar organization, the average settlement amount offered is about $3,000 total or $750 for each alleged file shared depending upon the number of alleged files shared. And if you didn’t settle out of court, you could face fines of up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail.

Q: How do I remove peer-to-peer software from my computer?

Windows 7 Computers

Use the Add/Remove Programs window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs, just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.

  1. You need administrative access to the computer in order to Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Turn off all file-sharing programs and all of their components.
  3. Go to your computer's Control Panel. You can get to it by following this path from your computer's Start menu: Start -> Control Panel
  4. Click on the “Uninstall a program” option if you are viewing by category or click on “Programs and Features” if you are viewing by Large or Small icons.
  5. There are two ways to remove the application. If you Double Click the application name it will automatically remove it. If you Click the application name, you can choose the option at the top of the Uninstall or change a program window. Either way is acceptable. Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components. Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed (e.g., Kazaa and "My Search Bar"). If you have more than one program to remove, when prompted to reboot the computer, click No. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.
  6. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Windows XP Computers

Use the Add/Remove Programs window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs, just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.

  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs and all of their components.
  2. Go to your computer's Control Panel. You can get to it by following this path from your computer's Start menu: Start -> Settings -> Control Panel or Start -> Control Panel
  3. Double click on the Add/Remove Programs or Add or Remove Programs icon.
  4. Select Change or Remove Programs
  5. Click once to highlight the software you would like to remove, then click on the Remove or Change/Remove button. Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components. Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed (e.g., Kazaa and "My Search Bar"). If you have more than one program to remove, when prompted to reboot the computer, click No. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.
  6. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Windows Vista Computers

Use the Programs and Features window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs, just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.

  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs and all of their components.
  2. Go to your computer's Control Panel. You can go to it from your computer's Start menu.
  3. Double click on the Programs and Features icon
  4. Locate the P2P software you are removing on the list of installed programs. Click once to highlight the software. At the top of the list of programs, select Uninstall. Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components. Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, click No if prompted to reboot your computer. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.
  5. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Apple Macintosh Computers

  1. Quit all file-sharing programs.
  2. Locate the folder containing the P2P software that you want to remove. It is usually in the Applications folder.
  3. Double-click the P2P program's folder to examine its contents.
  4. Some Macintosh-compatible P2P programs come with an "uninstall" program. If you see an "Uninstall" or "Uninstaller" program, run it to remove the P2P software. If you do not see such a program, go back to the Applications folder, and move the P2P program's folder into the trash.
  5. Empty your computer's trash folder.
  6. Go to the Apple menu and select Restart to reboot your computer.