Information Technology Services

File Sharing - How You Can Be Identified as Sharing Files

How can content owners identify me?
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, Missouri Western State University is designated as an ISP and is notified of copyright infringement occurring on the campus network.

How does Missouri Western State University identify me to forward the infringement notice?
Once the University receives an infringement notice identifying a MWSU network user by a MWSU IP (Internet Protocol) address, MWSU can identify the user. An identified MWSU IP address can include any of your network registrations, the static address of a computer in a department at MWSU, or an IP address that you are assigned when you use the MWSU VPN network.

More details:

Using the Missouri Western State University Wi-Fi Networks
To use the MWSU Wi-Fi network, you have to register the unique hardware address of your computer’s Wi-Fi card. MWSU Wi-Fi addresses are dynamically assigned. This means that any number of people may use the same address throughout the day. Whenever you are given a roaming IP address and anytime your computer talks to the Wi-Fi network, the hardware address of your computer’s Wi-Fi card is recorded in the Wi-Fi logs. This hardware address can be matched to your NetID using your network registration.

Wired connection in your residence hall
To use a wired connection, you register the hardware address of your Ethernet 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).

Someone using your Wi-Fi router
If you’ve registered your Wi-Fi router using your NetID, any activity that occurs on the router is tracked back to you. This means that if your roommate is downloading a movie using the Wi-Fi connection you set up in your residence hall, you are likely to receive a complaint since you are the registered owner of the IP address.

Portions of this page are based on web documentation produced by Yale University and are used with permission.