Just as OUCS expects Colleges and their students to abide by the University rules, OUCS in turn has to abide by the rules set by JANET, the Joint Academic Network, that provides internet connectivity to a large number of Higher Education Institutions in the UK. If the University of Oxford does not abide by the JANET rules (See http://www.ja.net/documents/publications/policy/aup.pdf) then we become liable to be disconnected which would be a disaster for the academic research and teaching activities of this University.
We should also make clear that these reports are not simply about downloading material. They come as a consequence of the fact that when people use some types of file sharing software, once it has started downloading material to a person’s computer it then makes that material available to the rest of the internet for upload from that computer. This is where the legal offence occurs as it means that University network (including VPN if that’s how the connection is being made) is then hosting copyrighted material for distribution for which the University does not hold the copyright or distribution rights. This is why we have to cut connections off quickly to protect the University from the risk of litigation by the owners of the copyrighted material – often large media companies or software houses. We terminate offending connections quickly not as punishment but to protect the academic activities of the rest of the University, both students and staff.