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Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities. U.S. Copyright Law protects a wide range of creative works and grants to the owners of the work the exclusive right to make copies of the work, to make new works using part of the original work, distribute copies of the work, and display or perform the work publicly. Works protected by copyright include (but are not limited to) written works, movies, music, photographs, art, software and other original works of authorship.
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.
Dallas Baptist University is committed to ensuring copyrights in creative works are respected and used appropriately by DBU staff, faculty and students.
Therefore, members of the DBU community using university computers, library and networks are expected to abide by both United States and international copyright laws. Failure to comply with copyright laws may result in disciplinary action or termination of access, in additional to potential civil or criminal damages. With respect to unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, disciplinary action pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct and Policy on Intellectual Property will be taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution's information technology system.
DBU responds to all notices from copyright holders alleging inappropriate activities across our network. If you host or exchange files unlawfully, you are personally responsible for any civil or criminal consequences from that activity since ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. The University strongly recommends that everyone using the university's network and computers read the rules on copyright laws before sharing files online.
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. For information about legal alternatives to file sharing, please go to www.dbu.edu/computers.
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