[Libs-Or] Bittorrent downloading in libraries--Any solutions?

Martin, Greg gmartin at ci.wilsonville.or.us
Mon Jun 28 15:03:46 PDT 2010

Hi All,

I'd like to throw out a couple of questions about bittorrent downloading in Oregon's libraries. Our own library's free and open wireless access sometimes plays host to nefarious copyright scofflaws who download copyrighted files, leading to threatening legal notices being received by our fair city, as the owner of the IP range.

Question #1: Does anyone know what, if any, legal penalties face the library (or the city) for this activity? I've understood it to be something of a gray area in the recent past. Has that changed?

Question #2: Are there any technological fixes that can be instituted to stop or sabotage our moustache-twisting villains? We have our wireless router broadcasting only when the library is open. Additionally we have our wireless upload rate choked off, but I've been told that the servers can't distinguish between bittorrent downloading and 'regular' downloading, meaning that there is no effective means to limit bittorrent downloads without negatively affecting our system as a whole. True?

Further, I'm given to understand that although Multnomah County (public) has a click-through agreement prohibiting illegal activity, bittorrent downloading still works just fine there. I'd suppose if anyone would have a technical solution in place, they would.

Any answers much appreciated. Please copy the list, if possible.


Greg Martin
Adult Services Librarian
Wilsonville Public Library
martin at wilsonvillelibrary.org

P.S. I wanted to check the libs-or archives (http://listsmart.osl.state.or.us/pipermail/libs-or/) on this question, but can't figure out any way to do a global archives search. Am I just a chowderhead, or is there really no way to do that? And if not, can there be?

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