Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
Find out how P2P works and where you can get legally free and paid media content

Copyright Notifications

Copyright Notifications
I received a copyright violation notice from ITS Technology Security Services. Now what?

Copyright Law & NYU Policies

Copyright Law & NYU Policies
Explore how copyrights are protected under Federal Law and NYU policies

Discussions & Current Cases

Discussions & Current Cases
Read articles on legal efforts to protect copyrights as well as current court cases


search the site

did you know?

  • There are many free and legal sources of online digital media content

    Click here to find out more.

  • The only types of servers that are allowed on ResNet are web servers. P2P programs that allow others to connect to your machine are acting as a file server, and are therefore not allowed.
  • If you use file sharing on NYU-NET or ResNet, NYU, as your ISP, is obligated to forward to you any copyright complaints we receive about activity on your computer.

P2P File Sharing Overview

A large percentage of people who use the Internet have downloaded music or movies. And most of the individuals who download these files through paid services, file sharing applications, or peer-to-peer networks by now are aware of how prominent the issue of illegal downloading has become.

The University's stance on this issue is simple: downloading copyrighted material without permission is illegal, and you should not do it. You should also not use your computer to distribute copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. Be aware: some applications for downloading music, movies and other files actually turn your computer into a server, allowing it to be used for distributing copyrighted material. If you are doing illegal downloads or distributions now or have done so, you should stop.

To better understand the multifaceted issues surrounding the issue of illegal P2P file sharing, click on any one of the panels above.


What is a peer-to-peer application?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications are used to connect you directly to another person's computer, or "peer" (and, frequently, to give them the ability to connect to your machine) in order to transfer files between the two computers. There are three key characteristics that define a P2P application:

  • The ability to discover peers
  • The ability to query peers
  • The ability to share content with peers

What programs fall into this category?

The programs that fall into this category include Kazaa, iMesh, LimeWire, Gnutella, Azureus, Frostwire, Poisoned, Shareaza, BitTorrent, uTorrent, Vuze and many others.


How does P2P work?


Can I use P2P applications on ResNet?

You may not run any services (e.g., FTP services; listservers; publish mp3s using LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc.; publish files via generic file services) via NYU's wireless, NYURoam, or ResNet networks. You are allowed to run web (HTTP) servers on ResNet.


I'm using a "paid premium content" P2P service. Is that OK?

Certain P2P applications offer "paid premium content," but in many cases the consumer is still illegally sharing copyrighted materials. Prior to being legally required to shutdown, the once popular Limewire P2P service noted the following in its copyright information section:

The program distributed by Lime Wire, "LimeWire BASIC" and "LimeWire PRO", is legal software, but like many legal things, it is possible to use it in illegal ways. Specifically, it is illegal for you to use LimeWire to share, distribute or download (all of which we call sharing) copyrighted files without permission, or to share unlawful pornographic materials......Your use of LimeWire BASIC or purchase of LimeWire PRO does not constitute a license in or to share unauthorized or unlawful materials.

Moreover, ResNet policies forbid running any service (FTP, listservers, P2P file sharing servers, publishing files via generic file services, etc.) on the residential network service except web (HTTP) servers.


The RIAA has a list of "approved" P2P file sharing applications. Can I use those?

No, you may not. Unfortunately, these P2P applications still violate NYU ResNet policies.


Where can I find legally free or paid media content?

There are many legal alternatives for consuming audio and video media content. Often, this content is provided at little to no cost to the consumer. Visit the Educause Legal Sources of Online Content website for more information.

Page last reviewed: December 3, 2010