Recently, the Recording Industry Association of America filed civil suits against students at several universities seeking damages from them for copyright infringement resulting from peer-to-peer file sharing. In addition, the RIAA has placed increasing pressure on college and universities to take action against copyright violations attributable to such conduct. Some uses of the P2P technologies are perfectly legitimate, but conduct such as copying and sharing of music files without the authorization of the copyright owner, for example, is not. For more information about the application of copyright law to these types of activities, see the very helpful FAQ on the website of Dartmouth College.

The Education Task Force of the Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities and the American Council on Education (ACE) issued a report in April 2004 that includes examples of institutional responses to P2P file sharing, including education, network management technologies, policies, institutional enforcement, and legal file sharing. The Joint Committee also issued Report in August 2003 on the legal aspects of P2P file sharing.