Copyright and DMCA

Content:

  • Overview
  • BSU Policies and Guidelines
  • FAQs About Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
  • Copyright Law
  • Learn More About Copyright and File Sharing

Overview

Do you want to use a digital image or a song but aren't sure if it is copyright protected? Do you use peer-to-peer software and are concerned with sharing copyrighted files? Have you ever received a Takedown Notification telling you to remove copyrighted files from the network because of alleged infringement under the DMCA? If you have these or similar issues concerning digital copyright, search these pages to find out about digital copyright and file sharing, DMCA notification procedures at BSU, and what you should do to remain in compliance with copyright laws.

BSU Policies and Guidelines

BSU's Acceptable Use Policy require that members of the BSU community not share copyrighted material over the campus network in any way without prior copyright holder authorization. Sharing over the network includes web pages, peer-to-peer file sharing software, email, etc. Please be sure that you have rights or authorization from the copyright holder for any material you make available or share over the campus network.

This network policy derives from BSU Policy, which in turn implements the requirements of U.S. Copyright Law (see Copyright Law resources below). BSU remains committed to complying with all copyright laws to the fullest extent possible, and complying with all associated legal responsibilities in this regard.

FAQs About Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

To learn more about BSU's position on unauthorized file sharing, the infringement notifications process, and which protocols BSU follows, see:

  • Copyright Infringement Policy for Students
  • If You Are Issued a Copyright Infringement Notice
  • But I didn't do anything! Why did I receive a notice?
  • You mean someone saw my computer sharing copyrighted material on the internet and reported it to the University? Is this legal? What else can they do?
  • A friend set up my P2P application, and told me it would not share. How could these claims be true?

Copyright Infringement Policy for Students

Downloading and distributing copies of copyrighted songs, movies, software or other protected works without permission from the copyright owner or agent is illegal and is a violation of the University's Policy for Responsible Computing.

In response to the number of copyright infringement notices sent to the University of Chicago, in 2007 the school put together both a clearly worded policy and a set of instructions for disabling file sharing in peer-to-peer applications:

I received a Copyright Violation Notice from BSU IT Security. Why? What happens next?

BSU takes a strong stand against unlawful distribution of copyrighted music, movies and software. Though the University does routinely monitor internet activity, if you are downloading or sharing copyrighted works over the internet, your activity can be seen by the copyright owners. If the University receives notification of claimed infringement from a copyright owner or agent about your internet activity, Federal law requires that the University take action. You are responsible for the activity associated with your IP address whether you are aware of the violation or not, the following process will be completed:

The process outlined below will be followed regarding violations:

1. LEVEL 1: Warning. First time violation is detected. The student...

a. Will be redirected to a page detailing the violation and the expected actions.

b. will be requested to agree to comply with federal laws. Upon agreeing to comply, the user will be allowed access to the Internet immediately.

c. must stop sharing copyrighted material immediately across BSU network to keep the network access privileges.

2. LEVEL 2: One hour internet blockage. This level gets activated when the user continues to share copyrighted material despite accepting to comply as directed in Level 1. The student:

a. will be blocked from network access for one hour

b. will be requested to agree again to comply with federal laws.

c. must stop sharing copyrighted material immediately across BSU network to keep the network access privileges.

3. LEVEL 3: 24-hour internet blockage. This level gets activated when the user continues to share copyrighted material despite accepting to comply as directed in Level 1 and 2. The student:

a. will be blocked from network access for 24 hours

b. will be requested to agree again to comply with the institution's guidelines regarding such illegal actions with a warning that future violations will entail access privileges be removed permanently.

c. must stop sharing copyrighted material immediately across BSU network.

4. LEVEL 4: Permanent internet blockage. This level gets activated when the user continues ignores the previous three warnings and continues to violate the copyright laws. The student:

a. will be blocked from network access permanently

b. will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, who will determine, among other decisions, whether the student can/cannot regain access privileges.

But I didn't do anything! Why did I receive a notice?

If you have peer-to-peer (P2P) software loaded on your computer, you are at risk for being sued by the copyright owner. This is true even if you have never downloaded music or movies here on campus, or think you have turned off file sharing or the P2P application itself. P2P applications can be running in the background, searching your entire computer for media files to share out to the world, without you knowing. It is very difficult, if not impossible in some instances to configure P2P applications to not share your legal music or movie collection, or even the contents of your hard drive, including your personal banking and other files.

The best advice is to completely delete P2P applications from your system. If you must use P2P applications to swap content (e.g. personal photos, videos or creative works in the public domain), do so carefully so copyrighted files on your system are not shared-out to others in violation of US copyright law. Some instructions are available here (Link this-http://itservices.uchicago.edu/groups/security/guidelines/ ), but the only recommended action is to delete P2P applications from your system.

If you feel the notification of claimed infringement is in error, you have the right under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (see p. 159) to file a counter notification with the Bowie State University's designated agent for copyright infringement notification.

You mean someone saw my computer sharing copyrighted material on the internet and reported it to the University? Is this legal? What else can they do?

Since 2004, the motion picture and recording industries have been suing those found to be infringing on their copyrights via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc.). Violators can be liable for fines ranging from $750 - $30,000 per file - $150,000 plus imprisonment if the infringement is willful. If the University receives a subpoena seeking your identity because the IP address used by your computer or network device (e.g. wireless router) is seen infringing on copyrights, it is required by law to disclose your identity to the courts.

Some copyright owners are now sending settlement offers to suspected violators via their colleges and universities. These letters offer alleged copyright infringers an opportunity to settle without further litigation. The letters advise that the copyright owner is prepared to file a lawsuit against the user claiming that it has evidence that the user was infringing on their member's copyrights.

The University will forward these settlement letters to the students in question. Those users receiving such letters should consult with their own attorney and the University will not be responsible for providing legal advice.

A friend set up my P2P application, and told me it would not share. How could these claims be true?

P2P applications can expose your personal information or share copyrighted files you never intended to share out to the world without your knowledge - more than you bargained for. They can put you at risk for copyright infringement even if you think you have configured them to limit sharing. Hackers can plant infectious software to take control of your computer to attack others. It is important to educate yourself and exercise caution. Many P2P applications hide the fact that they are designed to aggressively share everything on your hard drive and make it hard - if not impossible - to limit sharing. Remember, you are responsible for managing your PC - including security. It doesn't matter that you don't realize that file sharing is set to 'ON' in your P2P application, hackers exploited a hole in the security of your system, or that you set up an open-access wireless router in your room - you will be held accountable for the network activity attributed to your registered systems or equipment whether you have knowledge of it or not. It is recommended that all users educate themselves about the basic steps to secure their PC's, and consciously choose to be a good citizen in cyberspace.

Copyright Law

Learn More About Copyright and File Sharing

(Source: http://ist.mit.edu/security/copyrighthttp://www.udel.edu/security/copyright_abuse.htm, )