Office of Legal Affairs
Georgia Southern University

FAQ

There’s a lawyer on the phone, what should I do?

If the lawyer is calling on behalf of his or her client, unless some special arrangement has been made, please refer the call immediately to the Office of Legal Affairs, and do not discuss the matter with the lawyer. That’s why we’re here.

Remember that lawyers are people too, and sometimes they call for reasons other than representing clients. Lawyers who call as parents to our students, donors to our Foundation, participants in our programs, members of our advisory boards, and so forth should be welcomed. But lawyers representing clients should be directed to the Office of Legal Affairs.

Can you advise students or faculty in personal legal matters?

The Office of Legal Affairs exists for the purpose of serving the legal needs of the University, and cannot offer students, faculty or staff legal advice or services in regards to their own legal concerns.

If you are a student in need of legal advice or legal services, we suggest you contact the Office of the Dean of Students for information about legal services the SGA provides for Georgia Southern students.

For university faculty and staff, if you need legal services for yourself, you should contact one of Statesboro’s excellent attorneys. If you are unable to pay for legal services, you may be eligible for assistance through the Georgia Legal Services Program.

I received a notice that says I’m in violation of the computer-use policy – what’s that about?

Various pieces of software floating around on the Internet and elsewhere enable users to illegally download unlicensed music, videos, or software for free, and to share those files with others who would also like free access to these materials. Not everyone agrees that this practice ought to be illegal, but nobody can deny that it is. Trade organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) are aggressively opposing free file-sharing. The RIAA is filing suits against college and university students who have copyrighted materials available for file-sharing on their computers.

The RIAA and other trade groups regularly notify Georgia Southern University of the presence of unlicensed materials in file-sharing programs on machines hooked to our network. Under the law, Georgia Southern could face liability if it fails to disable the account and notify the account holder why this has happened. To prevent this, we move quickly to fulfill our legal duties and prevent further distribution of unlicensed files over our network.

A lot of Georgia Southern students have been getting these notices from the Office of Legal Affairs lately. Because having illegal file-sharing software and content on a computer hooked to our network is a violation of Georgia Southern’s computer use policy, the names of students about whom we receive these notices are turned over to Judicial Affairs.

The Office of Legal Affairs moves quickly to protect the University from liability in these situations. Students should work with Information Technology Services to restore their online accounts.

The Office of Legal Affairs exists for the purpose of serving the legal needs of the University, and cannot offer students legal advice in these matters. A few words of general information might be in order, however:

  • The RIAA and the other industry groups do sometimes sue students. Just because you get a notice from the Office of Legal Affairs doesn’t mean you are being sued. The Office of Legal Affairs does not know whether you are being sued or not. If you require legal advice, you will need to contact your own attorney.
  • Not all downloaded music, videos, and software are illegal. For example, providers such as iTunes provide legal licensed product. Realize, however, that just because you are rightfully in possession of a music file does not give you the right to distribute it to others via file-sharing software.
  • The RIAA and other industry groups have technological means to sniff out the presence of file-sharing software loaded with unlicensed content. Please don’t think that illegal file-sharing won’t be noticed — the RIAA notices them all the time.
  • More information about file-sharing is available online through the RIAA, the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Copyright Office.
What is “Phishing” and how can I avoid being hooked?

Phishing is a scam that’s becoming widespread and is costing innocent victims money, time, and aggravation.

Here’s how it works: The phisher send an e-mail that looks like it came from a legitimate business. It might look quite plausible, incorporating graphics and logos and such. Commonly used are banks (both national and local), credit card companies, online vendors such as Amazon, and PayPal. You get an e-mail from the entity that tells you that the details of your account have been lost in a computer crash, or they have detected some illegal activity in your account, or some other cover story. To correct it, you are told, all you need to do is click on the link the phisher will helpfully provide and follow the instructions.

  • Do NOT click the link in the email.The link would take you to another page, doctored to look like a legitimate corporate page, where you would be asked to enter your account information. Identity thieves would use this information to open accounts and borrow money in your name. But you might be in trouble even if you don’t enter the information, because simply clicking on the link can infect your computer with viruses or other nasty programs designed to read your passwords and credit card numbers and send them to the thieves over the internet.
  • Remember that legitimate businesses should not send you e-mails asking you for account information. We suggest you just delete them right away.
  • The Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG) publishes up-to-date information on this ever-evolving criminal phenomenon.
  • The Office of Legal Affairs supports efforts to protect students and employees from identity theft. Download our identity theft prevention guide.

Last updated: 8/28/2014

Office of Legal Affairs • PO Box 8020 Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-7481