File Sharing

Video credit: Peer to Peer Filesharing – Simply Speaking posted by Penn State TLT on YouTube



In November 2012, a court decision forced Internet providers to release subscriber names and details for Canadians involved in peer to peer file sharing. This crack down was initiated by a production company which hired a private forensic software company that currently has information on one million Canadians.  This court decision could hold individual users for charges up to 5,000 dollars.


Think before you ink

Intellectual property refers to anything that has been created through human intelligence – knowledge, inventions, artistic works, and so on. Laws of copyright protect intellectual property after it has been recorded or written down. While there is a growing political movement by groups like The Pirate Bay advocating the abolition of intellectual property law (they recently won a seat in the European parliament), examples like the one above show that current laws protecting copyright and combating file sharing are still very much in effect.

    • Both Canada and the United States have recently discussed new copyright legislation (see Bill C-11), which might affect many of your online activities. This concept seems simple, but things get complicated when we start sharing videos on Youtube or music across peer-to-peer networks.
    • Material that is copyrighted cannot be used or shared without the permission of the owner, unless it is for “fair use” such as showing a clip of a video in class.
    • Before you post material that someone else has created, ensure that you have their permission to use it.
    • You automatically have copyright over any material that you have created, such as a photo you took, an essay you wrote, or a piece of music you composed. Other people cannot copy or use your creations without your permission. If you want to allow others to use or share your work, consider using a Creative Commons license.


The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.

How has file sharing impacted the way you access materials online? 

Do copyright laws influence your file sharing activity?

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