Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement Can Get You in Legal Trouble

Using peer-to-peer (P2P) software to get free copies of music, movies, TV shows or video games that you would otherwise have to pay for is illegal. Doing so violates the copyrights of others and may subject you to civil and criminal legal penalties.  The US Department of Education has issued the following statement about penalties for copyright infringement:

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. 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.

In short, a song or movie you download for free could wind up costing you between $750 and $30,000 in the event that a rights-holder pursues legal action against you.  You may also spend hundreds of dollars in legal fees or settlement costs defending yourself.

 

Programs and protocols used to share copyrighted material include, but aren’t limited to:

  • LimeWire
  • Bittorrent
  • Gnutella
  • e-Donkey
  • Ares

 

University Policy and Copyright

Violating copyright law is against Dixie State University conduct and technology policies, which students and other users of the DSC network are expected to follow. When we receive a complaint from a copyright holder, DSU IT Services will disable the offending student’s network access and that student will have to sign a network reinstatement form before access will be restored.  Any repeat complaints will result in the student being referred to the Dean of Students for appropriate disciplinary action which can include loss of network privileges, probation, or suspension.

DSU does not provide information about students to copyright holders unless served with a subpoena or court order.

Other Risks

Many of these P2P programs can expose personal files and information on your computer without your knowledge or may be a way for viruses and other malware to infect your computer.

Legal Alternatives

There are many sites and services that offer completely legal access to copyrighted music, movies, TV shows, and games at low cost or even for free.

 

Music

Amazon MP3

iTunes

Last.fm

Napster

Pandora

Walmart MP3

Movies / Television

ABC.com TV Shows

Amazon Video on Demand

CBS Video

Hulu

NBC Video

Netflix

Games

Gametap

Steam

Dixie State University provides this list purely for informational purposes and does not recommend or endorse any of the above services.  Visit EDUCAUSE’s Legal Content page for a much more comprehensive list of legal content providers.