Filed under Archive


Posted on September 23, 2021 | Filed under Archive

This post has been archived. Information below may be out of date and/or relate to a past event.

As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act, LITS reminds the community that using the College’s network for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, is a violation of College policy and may subject the students, faculty, or staff members to civil and criminal liabilities. College sanctions for violations may include loss of network privileges and could potentially extend to dismissal from the College. Please contact the InfoDesk in Pelletier at if you have questions.

The appended materials describe legal alternatives for acquiring copyrighted material and summarize civil and criminal penalties for copyright infringement.

Legal Alternatives for Acquiring Copyrighted Material
Educause, a higher education computing association, maintains a list of resources for legally acquiring digital copies of copyrighted material. You can find their list at

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws*
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 Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ’s at

*Summary drawn from U.S. Department of Education “Dear Colleague Letter,” June 2010