Each campus must distribute three pieces of information related to copyright policy and law:
i) A statement that explicitly informs its students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities;
ii) A summary of the penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws; and
iii) A description of the institution’s policies with respect to unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution’s information technology system.
The following sections cover the above criteria.
Definition of copyright infringement
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.
Summary of penalties
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.
Rhodes State’s policy on copyright infringement
In accordance with Use of Copyrighted Work Policy 5.11.1, all users must comply with copyright policy guidelines:
- Any faculty or staff member or student who plans to use copyrighted works in academic course work, a classroom presentation, in materials distributed to students, or other like situation, is expected to make appropriate use consistent with "fair use" principals of the copyrighted work(s)
- It is the responsibility of all faculty, staff and students to make a good faith determination concerning whether the use of any material or works constitutes "fair use". Fair use is determined by (a) the purpose and character of the use (commercial vs. non-profit educational), (b) the nature of the copyrighted work, (c) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the total copyrighted work, and (d) effect upon potential market or the value of the copyrighted work. To determine whether the material or works constitute fair use, the following references which provide information about copyright, the definition of "fair use", and the determination of the four factors of fair use should be used:
Web sites - http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/ (The US Copyright Office)
Publications - Questions &Answers on Copyright for the Campus Community, Association of American Publishers, current edition. (Available in the office of the Dean of Instructional Services)
- If in doubt about the use of copyrighted materials or publications, permission to use them from the copyright holder must be sought.
Individuals who fail to comply with Use of Copyrighted Work Policy 5.11.1, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), or other College policies are subject to misconduct proceedings as defined in Student Code of Conduct Handbook (students) and Disciplinary Action and Due Process Policy 5.5 (employees).