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Digital Piracy

Digital piracy has been under increased scrutiny in recent years. Using Yale’s network to download and distribute copyrighted files is illegal and violates the Undergraduate Regulations and also Yale’s Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy, to which all Yale students must agree before receiving Ethernet access.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and individual entertainment industry companies (as well as agents working on their behalf) monitor users who download and distribute their materials illegally and then notify Internet service providers (Yale, in the case of campus network infringements) of the breaches. Besides serious legal ramifications for copyright violators, illegal activities may result in suspension and revocation of Yale network access.

There are alternatives to illegal file-sharing. Some examples include Nullsoft, the maker of Winamp, which has an mp3 streaming technology called Shoutcast. Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and Netscape Radio also provide its users access to many streaming music channels. In addition, Yale has negotiated with Cflix to offer legal alternatives to students for viewing movies and listening to music.

Apple offers iTunes to both MacOS X and Windows users to listen to Internet radio stations and also to buy and to download songs from the iTunes store at 99 cents per music download. There are also a number of online music stores directed mainly toward Windows users, similar to Apple’s music store. Real Networks, for example, has acquired the Rhapsody music service. Other alternatives will likely emerge in the future as well.