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

TUCKER-RAYMOND Caleb calebt at multcolib.org
Tue Jun 29 11:50:15 PDT 2010

Just curious here - Bittorrent users aren't necessarily doing anything
illegal, so is this really a bandwidth issue? If so, how can libraries
respond to the kind of legal pressure that Wilsonville is facing?

Caleb Tucker-Raymond 

Oregon Statewide Reference Service Coordinator 
Multnomah County Library 
(503) 988-5438 
calebt at multcolib.org 
AIM/Y!: calebMCL 


-----Original Message-----
From: libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
[mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Buzzy
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 11:43 AM
To: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] Bittorrent downloading in libraries--Any

Hi Greg,

I asked our district's network admin about this, and he gave some useful
information. Like Multnomah, we have the boilerplate agreement to which
wired and wireless users alike must agree before proceeding (i.e. don't
use our computers for illegal stuff). On our wired computers, we've
"hidden" access to the bittorrent client, although it does launch if a
patron opens a torrent file via the browser.

Our main technique for controlling it, though, is that we throttle
incoming and outgoing connections from popular bittorrent and other P2P
ports, so they don't draw a lot of overall bandwidth. We use an open
source firewall program called pfSense ( http://www.pfsense.com/).

Caveat: all of our public computers, most of our servers, and many of
our staff stations run some flavor of Linux, so your mileage may vary
with these solutions.

Assistant Library Director
North Bend Public Library
1800 Sherman Ave.
North Bend, OR 97459
http://www.cooslibraries.org <http://www.cooslibraries.org/> 

On 06/28/2010 04:19 PM, GIBBON Cindy wrote: 

Greg, we aren't blocking bit torrent downloading, but we might consider
it if we could figure out a good way to do it.  Aside from all else, it
takes an awful lot of our wireless bandwidth and leaves other users
sometimes unable to do what they need to do.  However, our legal counsel
did suggest we add this statement to our Acceptable User of the Interent
rules and our click-thru agreement that all patrons must agree to at
log-in.  Our understanding is that from a legal standpoint, we do not
need to be concerned about library/county  liability in these
situations.  I think the principle is similar to the warnings that we
post a copy machines.  This statement comes out of a manual on copyright
issues for libraries which is sitting in my office (and I'm not) so I
can't dredge up the title right now.  Anyway, here are the words we

Notice: Warning of Copyright Restrictions 

As a patron, your ability to post or link to copyrighted material is
governed by United States copyright law. The library reserves the right
to delete or disable any post or link that, in the judgment of library
staff, violates copyright law. In accordance with 17 USC S 512
(i)(1)(A), the library may terminate a patron's access to the system or
network for disrespect of the intellectual property rights of others, or
for repeat infringements of copyright. The library has adopted this
policy and will make all reasonable effort to enforce it in appropriate

If your legal counsel wants to talk to ours, let me know.
Cindy Gibbon
Senior Library Manager for 
Access and IT Services
Multnomah County Library

-----Original Message-----
From: libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
[mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Martin,
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 3:04 PM
To: 'libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us'
Subject: [Libs-Or] Bittorrent downloading in libraries--Any solutions?

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.

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

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