All students should be aware that it is against the law and a violation of Lynchburg College’s Student Conduct Code to engage in file-sharing of copyrighted materials such as music and movies.
Adherence to copyright law is one of your responsibilities under the College’s Technology Acceptable Use Policy (in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations section of The Hornet student handbook).
Please note that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file-sharing, may result in criminal and civil penalties for you, as well as campus disciplinary action.
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 www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ’s at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.
Lynchburg College does not condone illegal downloading and file-sharing. Should the College receive a notification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or other organizations detailing a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which notes the sharing of music, movies, or other copyrighted material, the College will act in the following ways:
- On the first notification from an external entity, the student will receive a letter of instruction to remove the offending material and to cease unauthorized downloading. Also, the student must complete one of two options: an assigned educational task regarding downloading or pay a $50 fine.
- On the second notification from an external entity, the student’s computer will be prevented from accessing the College network until the student removes the offending material and presents his/her computer for review by the Information Technology and Resources staff. Also, the student will be assessed a $75 fine.
- On the third notification from an external entity, the student’s computer will be prevented from accessing the College network for the remainder of the semester. Also, the student will be assessed a $100 fine.
Fines assessed for copyright violations will be used to defray the costs of: 1) software licensing and hardware maintenance necessary for monitoring the College’s network and identifying violators in response to complaints from external entities; and 2) educational efforts promoting compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
For-pay services to access music and movies (iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, and others) are readily available to you. In addition, there are numerous sites on the web from which you can stream music and movies using a web browser. We strongly encourage you to use these services. For more information about file-sharing do’s and don’ts, go to /x1032.xml.
Last updated 9/2/2011.