Western Michigan University policy explicitly prohibits the use of its computer systems and networks to violate copyright (see computing resources acceptable use policy and WMUnet acceptable use policy). Some forms of file sharing-for example, illegally downloading and sharing MP3 files of popular music—violate copyright. It is important for all users of the University's systems to understand their responsibilities and the University's responsibilities regarding copyright.
Many people who are using peer-to-peer file-sharing software are doing so, either unbeknownst to themselves, or in ways that result in copyright infringement, and thus make them liable for lawsuits and/or loss of computing network privileges at Western Michigan University.
WMU receives approximately 1000 notices per year of illegal downloads via Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) preservation notices or RIAA pre-settlement, subpoenas, and/or settlement letters. When WMU receives DMCA complaints, they are taken seriously and acted upon accordingly.
Because dealing with these notices this has become a time-consuming problem, the Office of Information Technology has begun an education process to assure that those using WMU resources (ResNet, the computer network in the residence halls, or WMUnet, WMU's network) to share files, are aware of what they are doing. If you have received a file sharing notification pop-up or email from information technology, please take the time to review the information contained within this website. If you have any questions, please use the Contact Us form.
- Academic integrity, copyright infringement and use of WMUnet
- File Sharing Frequently Asked Questions
- File-sharing safety precautions
- Report copyright infringement
WMU Rules and Policies Related to Peer-to-Peer File sharing
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act compliance
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act violations
- Ethical treatment of information resources
- ResNet acceptable use policy
- WMUnet acceptable use policy
- WMU computing resources acceptable use policy
- File Sharing Infringement Procedures