Avoid File Sharing

Allegheny College respects copyright laws and is required to cooperate with copyright holders to identify individuals who share copyrighted materials. Illegal file sharing is a copyright infringement and against the law.

The Department of Education requires the College to inform you that:

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-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 website of the U.S. Copyright Office.

In addition to being illegal, downloading and distributing copies of copyrighted songs, movies, software, or other protected works without permission from the copyright owner or agent is a violation of Allegheny’s computing policies and Allegheny’s General College Policy Number 17 (The Compass Student Handbook).

Sharing illegally acquired or distributed copyrighted music, video or other media files, may result in temporary or permanent suspension of computing privileges, disciplinary action by the College and/or liability under applicable civil and criminal laws.

There are legal options for downloading and sharing digital media. EDUCAUSE offers links to legal sources of online content that provide digital media LEGALLY—some at no charge, others at a reasonable cost.