Illegal downloading and sharing of music, videos and other media has decreased significantly on campus over the past few years, according to Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis.

As recently as 2008, illegal downloading was a considerably larger problem at Bowdoin.  According to the September 19, 2008 Orient article “RIAA continues effort to end illegal downloads”, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued pre-litigation letters to 11 members of the Bowdoin community in spring 2007.

Even these numbers, however, do not indicate the extent of the problem at its height.
“[I received] maybe 100 in a month, or 150, sometimes from one person. It was pretty bad, and I was walking around talking to various student groups,” said Davis.

When Davis receives a notification from the RIAA or Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), he tracks the IP address to a specific computer.  The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs then issues a warning to the owner. If the problem persists, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster and Davis meet with the student.  The most recent meeting of this sort took place last year.
This year warnings have been rare—Davis said that he is now typically contacted only once every two or three weeks.  

The College does not search its own network for violations, and Bowdoin waits for external notification from organizations like the RIAA or the MPAA before taking any action.  
Video and music content can now be easily and legally accessed thanks to the growth of online giants like Spotify,  YouTube and Netflix. Davis said that affordable options like these might be helping to cut down student pirating.

“You know, Netflix used to be $25 or $30, now it’s $7 for an account. Most people can afford seven bucks if they want to. If not, their friend has it, and they have it on their laptop,” said Davis.
The number of illegal downloading violations may have decreased since its height years ago, but pirating has certainly not been eradicated at Bowdoin.  Some students said they believe there is a decent population of people that are still downloading. 

“I believe that it’s definitely apparent.  I would say that there is a good amount of audio torrenting,” said Danny Mejia ’17 . “I’m not sure people are doing big torrenting, and stuff you could really get in trouble with the law with, though you can get in trouble for anything.”