Information Technology

Peer-to-peer (P2P) File Sharing Policy

adopted by the CPC on 3/26/2013. Updated 3/9/2020.

(Policy Exceptions May be Requested - see below)

P2P Definition

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is a method of sharing or distributing digital files over a network where each computer participating in the peer-to-peer file sharing network is allowed to act as either a client or server (or both). P2P applications include programs such as BitTorrent, Soulseek, Shareaza, and eMule.

P2P Issues


The amount of traffic generated by P2P applications can rapidly saturate our campus Internet connection, markedly degrading network performance quality for most users on campus.


Due to its decentralized nature, P2P is frequently implicated in illegal sharing and distribution of copyrighted materials such as music and movie files. Reed receives complaints each year from copyright holders whose protected materials were illegally downloaded or shared on our network.


Some digital files available for P2P distribution contain malware which potentially can infect a P2P participant’s computer, making it and other computers on the network vulnerable to malicious exploits.

Reed P2P Policy

Most P2P protocols are blocked by default on Reed’s network. Those wishing to use P2P applications for legitimate academic or business functions may request an exception to this policy. Users requesting an exception must agree to use the P2P technology only in accordance with the Reed College computer user agreement. Downloading or sharing of copyrighted materials without the expressed consent of the copyright holder is prohibited.


Failure to comply with this policy, the Reed College Computer User Agreement, or applicable laws or regulations may result in:

  • Immediate access blocking and/ or removal of inappropriate material from Reed IT resources;
  • Suspension or termination of user’s network access;
  • Disciplinary actions (up to and including termination of employment) in accordance with applicable college policies;
  • Civil or criminal prosecution.

Exception Request Process

Some students, faculty, and staff may have a legitimate need for running file-sharing applications in Reed’s network. Legitimate uses of file-sharing software include downloading certain open-source software distributions or sharing public domain material. Student exceptions to the P2P block are valid for one academic year only and must be renewed each academic year P2P access is required.

You may request an exception to the P2P block by clicking the button below and confirming your request on the P2P-Block-Exception form:

Request P2P Block Exception (login required)