Peer-to-peer and other file sharing methods facilitate collaborative work, creativity, and communication of ideas through the posting of files that can be accessed online. Some forms of file sharing violate copyright law. The College wants you to know that the downloading and sharing of music, videos, software and other copyrighted materials using peer-to-peer applications over the college network may expose you and those with whom you share files to legal action and result in stiff penalties and/or disciplinary sanctions for students under the College’s Information and Technology Acceptable Use policy, found in the Board of Trustees’ Procedure P6Hx23-6.900.
Violations of copyright laws and regulations can result in a civil suit or criminal action. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Moreover, such activity is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and exposes you to serious civil and criminal penalties. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov especially the Frequently Asked Questions section at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.
A list of legal alternatives for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material is made available through EDUCAUSE's HEOA Resource
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