About MP3 files
MP3, short for MPEG Audio Layer 3, is a digital audio compression technique that compresses an audio file (such as CDA, WAV, or AU) to about one-fifth of its original size. For example, this technique would compress a 30MB WAV file down to a 6MB MP3 file. You can compress even further to get the file down to 4.5MB; however, the quality of the audio decreases as the file is further compressed. For technical information about MP3 technology, including a glossary of related terms and MP3-related downloads, see the MP3 Converter web site.
While the MP3 file format is not illegal, many MP3 files available through file sharing applications such as KaZaA, BearShare, and Morpheus are illegal copies being distributed by users who do not have permission to share them. When you download a copy of one of these illegally distributed files to your own computer, even if you download just one song, you are committing an illegal action. In addition, purchasing a music CD generally does not give you the right to distribute or share the songs on it.
While Indiana University does not actively search for instances of copyright violation, investigations into degradation of service and network problems, as well as routine security administration, can expose violations. In such cases, the university is obligated to investigate, just as it is for complaints of illegal activities or inappropriate use taking place on the IU network. Copyright owners do actively search for copyright infringements of their works using the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). When IU receives such a complaint or discovers a violation via other means, the university is legally required to remove the offending material from the IU network. For more about the procedure regarding copyright violations that involve the IU network, see Copyright Infringement Incident Resolution.
In addition to sending complaints to IU, copyright owners may also take direct legal action against alleged infringers, and subpoena the university for information about people sharing files. The No Electronic Theft (NET) Act provides for serious criminal penalties, including a fine of up to $250,000 and a potential jail sentence. Lack of knowledge about copyright infringement laws will not excuse you from legal consequences, or from action by the university. It is your responsibility to be aware of the legality of your actions. For more, see How can I protect myself?
Last modified on April 12, 2010.