COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND PEER-
TO-PEER (P2P) FILE SHARING
Anyone found committing copyright infringement and peer-to-peer file sharing will be subject to
institutional sanctions. Violation penalties may include placing the student on an involuntary
leave of absence or termination if the student continues to violate policy. Students may also be
subject to civil and criminal penalties.
COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND PEER-TO-PEER FILE SHARING POLICY
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or
more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright
Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute
a copyrighted work. In the file a sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a
copyrighted work without authority constitutes an 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.
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 their FAQ’s at www.copyright.gov/help/faq