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File Downloaders Shift From Home to Work

11 Mar, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

The content industries' focus on suing consumers who download copyrighted material from home has pushed many people to download from work, a recent survey found.

Security software company Blue Coat Systems, Inc.'s peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing study suggested nearly 60 percent of employees are unconcerned the RIAA may take legal action against a company that has copyrighted content on the network.

A survey of nearly 300 respondents that Blue Coat conducted late last year and early this year suggested that 42 percent of people continue to use P2P file-sharing applications such as Kazaa, Morpheus, BearShare, LimeWire and clients using Gnutella or FastTrack networking technologies. Among those using P2P file sharing, 39 percent of users are conducting file sharing on company networks. Additionally, almost half of all respondents did not believe their company had an Internet use policy.

“The enterprise environment appears to be a safe haven for the use of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing," said Steve Mullaney, VP of marketing for Blue Coat. “Employees are not sufficiently worried about their companies getting sued by organizations such as the RIAA or MPAA. In addition to the legal risks created with illegal P2P file sharing, P2P downloading can easily consume 30 percent of network bandwidth, consume network storage and initiate spyware. It's time for enterprises to stop letting employees do things that put their business at risk.”

To protect against possible legal liability and preserve network bandwidth, Blue Coat executives recommend gaining visibility into all P2P activity on the network, establishing an acceptable Internet use policy across the entire enterprise, and enforcing an acceptable use policy with a proxy appliance, a program that companies may use to monitor their Web traffic.

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