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How can you be identified as illegally sharing files?
Content owners, such as the RIAA, often track distribution of their intellectual property on the Internet using the same P2P software (e.g. KaZaA, Gnutella, BitTorrent, Limewire, mIRC) as people who share files. They actively search for a particular copyrighted work on the Internet and when they find their copyrighted work, they are able to identify the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the file sharer. They may then issue an infringement notice to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) from which the file was being made available. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, Yale is designated as an ISP and is notified of copyright infringement occurring on the campus network.
How does Yale identify me to forward the infringement notice?
Once the University receives an infringement notice identifying a Yale network user by a Yale IP (Internet Protocol) address, Yale can identify the user. An identified Yale IP address can include any of your network registrations, the address of a computer in a department at Yale, or an IP address that you are assigned when you use the Yale VPN network.
To use the wireless network at Yale, you have to register the unique hardware address of your computer's wireless card or log in with your Yale NetID and password. Yale wireless addresses are dynamically assigned. This means that any number of people may use the same address throughout the day. When you use the wireless network, identifying information is recorded in the wireless logs and can be matched to your NetID.
To use a wired connection, you register the hardware address of your network card with the University. When you register, a wired IP addresses is assigned to your NetID for the remainder of the school year (unless you delete the registration).
If you've registered your wireless router using your NetID, any activity that occurs on the router is tracked back to you. This means that if your suitemate is downloading a movie using the wireless connection you set up in your dorm, you are likely to receive a complaint since you are the registered owner of the IP address.
You can access restricted Yale resources (such as Library materials) from off-campus by using the Yale VPN network. When you log onto Yale VPN, your NetID is assigned a Yale IP address and a record is created in the VPN logs. That IP address is assigned to you until you log off.