The primary purpose of the IIRP’s computing resources and other information technologies is to enhance and support the educational mission of the IIRP. These resources include workstations and multi-user computer systems, as well as local area networks and connections to other computer networks.
All students, faculty, and staff are responsible for using the IIRP’s computing resources in a safe, effective, ethical, and lawful manner.
Note: Logging onto or otherwise connecting to the campus network implies acceptance of this policy.
The intent of this statement is to give an overview of acceptable and unacceptable uses of computing resources without exhaustively enumerating all such uses and misuses. This statement is intended as an addition to existing policies concerning academic honesty and the use of facilities. The predominant goal of this policy is to promote honesty, respect for individuals, and respect for both physical and intellectual property. All expectations regarding academic honesty and professional ethics extend to assignments completed in electronic form. It is never permitted to use another person’s computer authorization for any purpose or to provide your own authorization to another.
It is never permitted to access someone else’s work without explicit permission. It is not permitted to engage in any activity that would harass others or impede their work. All members of the campus community are required to adhere to all copyright laws. As part of the internet community, students connecting their computers to the IIRP’s must take reasonable precautions against viruses.
While the IIRP makes every effort to maintain the security of its systems, no guarantee of privacy can be made for electronically stored information or email. Users of institutional computing resources also should be aware that the IIRP reserves the right to inspect information stored on its systems when there is reasonable cause to suggest a violation of the institution’s policies.
Standards of ethics and behavior while using computing resources should follow such standards as outlined in IIRP handbooks and policy documents. Disciplinary procedures for violations will follow standard institutional procedures and may result in curtailment of network privileges.
The items below constitute examples of acceptable and unacceptable use:
- Use consistent with the mission of the IIRP.
- Use for purposes of, or in support of, education and research.
- Use related to administrative and other support activities.
- Personal communications as long as these do not interfere with the mission of the institution, infringe on the time of staff or students, or overload system or network resources.
- Use of computers or networks that violates federal, state, or local laws or statutes.
- Providing, assisting in, or gaining unauthorized or inappropriate access to the IIRP’s computing resources.
- Use of the IIRP’s computers or networks for unauthorized or inappropriate access to systems, software, or data at other sites.
- Installing on the network unauthorized network devices and network services such as wireless access points, internet address resolution servers, hubs, routers, and switches.
- Use of the IIRP’s systems or networks to copy, store, display, or distribute copyrighted material in any medium, or to prepare derivative works of such material, without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under copyright law.
- Installation of software on IIRP owned computers that is not either in the public domain or for which legal licensing has not been acquired by the individual user or the institution via the IIRP.
- Activities that interfere with the ability of others to use computing resources or other network-connected services effectively.
- Activities that result in unauthorized access to or the loss of another’s work.
- Connecting one’s personal computer to the network without taking reasonable precautions against viruses.
- Distribution of obscene, abusive, or threatening messages via electronic media, such as email or instant messaging.
- Distribution of chain letters or broadcasting to lists of individuals in a manner that might cause congestion of the network.
- Use of the IIRP’s computers or networks for commercial use or profit-making enterprises except as specifically agreed to with the institution.
Internet Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Policy
In recent years, internet peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have made it easy to download and share music, movies, and software files. This is a problem for the IIRP and other institutions because it encourages behavior that violates copyright law and because it creates internet traffic congestion. In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the IIRP will by policy and procedure:
- Ensure for all users adequate and equitable access to the internet for academic purposes and personal communications.
- Respect our community’s rights to privacy and confidentiality, freedom of speech, and academic freedom while using the network.
- Educate the network-user community on the technical, legal, and ethical aspects of copyright and intellectual property.
- Uphold copyright law as spelled out in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act and elsewhere. The Act defines copyright and fair use in the digital age.
The IIRP prohibits the use of its systems or networks to copy, store, display, or distribute copyrighted material in any medium, or to prepare derivative works of such material, without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under copyright law. In addition to sanctions by the institution, copyright violators could be subject to felony charges under state and federal law and may be sued by the copyright holder.
Under copyright law, unless you have express permission from the copyright holder to engage in the copying, downloading, and sharing of files, you are in violation of the law.
Peer-to-peer programs have no provision to acquire permission. In practice, therefore, their use for downloading music and movies may put you in violation of the IIRP’s policy and the law.
Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have legitimate uses for sharing information over the internet. In addition, the internet has allowed the democratization of the music industry, allowing musicians to distribute their works and gain audiences not possible before the internet. However compelling these arguments may be, they in no way absolve file-sharing users from the need to follow copyright law and respect intellectual property ownership.
The technology department at the IIRP does not intend to block peer-to-peer file-sharing programs, nor does it monitor the content of network traffic. However, the IIRP does monitor traffic patterns in order to guarantee acceptable network performance for all users. If the technology department becomes aware of policy violations or illegal activities in the course of investigating network congestion or determining problems, it will investigate by inspecting content stored or shared on its network.
The IIRP’s acceptable use policy also prohibits activities that interfere with the ability of others to use the IIRP’s computing resources or other network-connected services effectively. This may apply to peer-to-peer file-sharing programs irrespective of copyright violations, as these programs consume huge amounts of network resources.