Computer and Network Usage Policy
Stanford has a Computer and Network Usage Policy that translates the University's general business practices into the electronic domain and conforms to federal, state, and local laws. This policy defines the appropriate usage of computers and networks with respect to intellectual property rights, privacy issues concerning information belonging to others, and the integrity of information resources. A key piece of the policy is that a student's campus identifiers (such as the Stanford ID, SUNet ID, and password) never be shared with anyone. Stanford urges you to read and become familiar with the policy.
Students should also familiarize themselves with the related Student Computing Acceptable Use Policy.
File-sharing and Copyright Infringement
The University does not tolerate the use of its networks to facilitate the unlawful distribution of intellectual property. While the law provides limited exceptions, it is generally a violation of the law to either upload or download copyrighted content, such as songs, movies, TV shows, video games, software programs, and textual works, without the express permission of the copyright owner. The consequences for student who use the Stanford network to unlawfully file-share can be severe and com come from different fronts. Both the copyright owner and the University may impose penalties. Under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a copyright owner or an authorized agent may lawfully scan Internet traffic and send a complaint to Stanford as the Internet service provider (ISP) if it is discovered that a copyrighted work was shared without permission. If the copyright owner chooses to follow up with civil litigation, it may file a "John Doe" lawsuit against the IP address and Stanford would have to provide the identify of the Stanford network use in response to a valid subpoena. From 2005 through 2008, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) brought claims against more than 50 Stanford network users. Stanford estimates that collectively Stanford students paid over $100,000 to record companies to settle their claims. Although the RIAA announced in 2009 it would end its litigation campaign, students should be mindful that litigation continues to be a viable option for copyright holders to pursue and same rights holders continue to actively pursue litigation.
Stanford requires that users of the Stanford network respect copyright law. Stanford is required by law to follow up and respond to every copyright complaint, and even a first time complaint for a student may result in the disruption of network services for that student. On a second valid copyright complaint, the student's internet connection will be disabled and the student will be referred to the High School Summer College office for further action.