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To share or not to share, that is the question

Technology has revolutionized how we gather information. Because of the simplicity with which we can locate data, it is often easy to forget that most online content is protected by copyright. When is sharing files okay? When is it not?  You may or may not have heard about the recent changes in penalties for people who are downloading MP3 files of the Internet. MP3 is a compression file format that allows the user to shrink the music files into a file that is small enough to upload to the Internet to be heard by other users. It is also simple to download the file. This has caused many people to share their files with each other often without regard to the artists, the law and other consideration. Many people go to websites like Napster, Morpheus and Kazaa to look for and share files. In the past, only the people who placed the files were in violation. Now people who download the files are equally responsible. In some cases parents with little knowledge of computers, let alone file sharing have been cited with cease and desist letters with promises of further prosecution if the downloading continues.


Your organization has just received notice that a small system affiliated website has been implicated in a file sharing lawsuit. Both illegal music and software have been found on the servers. The Acceptable Use Policy was believed to be effective but officials fear that the lawsuit is merely the tip of the cyber iceberg. Something must be done to help address the issue. You have been assigned to a task force consisting of members of the organization and the community and must work together to effectively address the issue of file sharing and make a recommendation that will be acceptable to the community (the group members within the context of their roles). It has been decided by the administration that the past policies have focused largely on the legal and technical aspects of file sharing. Something is missing. The report must take into account the following perspectives, The Business Community, The Artist Community, The Legal Community, The End Users. You will achieve this goal by working both independently and cooperatively within a group, where each member will take on a role. Each member will become an expert on his or her selected role and generate a report for the group. From there the team members will work collectively to create a group newsletter for the community.

Here is a template for the newsletter - Click to download

You will be evaluated using the rubric - Click to download

Ready for the next step? Click here