Copyright infringement is the unauthorized copying, storing, displaying, or distributing of another’s intellectual property without the express permission of the copyright owner. In the file-sharing context (peer-to-peer or P2P shareware programs), downloading or uploading another’s work product without authority constitutes an infringement, and is prohibited by the federal Copyright Act of 1976 and Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

Penalties for copyright infringement are both civil and criminal in nature. For civil violations, individuals may be ordered to pay actual damages or statutory damages of not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per infringement. For willful infringement, awards of up to $150,000 per incident may be granted; criminal penalties include imprisonment for up to five years and fines of $250,000 per offense. Attorney’s fees and costs may also be assessed. For more information, see, and

Users of University IT resources may use only legally obtained licensed data or software and must comply with all applicable licenses, copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws. Much of what appears on the internet or is distributed via electronic communication is protected by copyright law, regardless of whether the copyright is expressly noted. Users of the University computer resources should assume that material is copyrighted unless they specifically know otherwise, and may not copy, download or distribute copyrighted material without permission. Protected material may include, among other things, music, movies, text, photographs, audio, video, graphic illustrations, and computer software.

The University continues to use appropriate technology to reduce and/or eliminate the practice of illegally sharing copyrighted materials. Known vectors used to share files are blocked from the campus. In addition, students are bound by existing University policy that specifically prohibits the use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. Violators of the policy are subject to removal of network access and referral to the appropriate disciplinary body.

A list of legal downloading sites is available here: The University encourages all students and staff to take advantage of these resources.

It is the responsibility of every person who uses University IT resources to download or upload data to make sure that copyrighted work is not misappropriated, and that all necessary permissions are obtained from the copyright holder.