Downloading or distributing whole copies of copyrighted material for personal use or entertainment without explicit permission from the copyright onwer is against the law.

Marshall University Copyright Policies and Procedures

“At Marshall University, faculty, students and staff are required to follow Copyright and Intellectual Property policies and adhere to the guidelines for producing, using and sharing creative or educational works.

In February 2007 Marshall University received unwanted publicity as a result of being in the top 25 universities receiving copyright infringement complaints from the Recording Industry Association of America. While this publicity alone does not warrant a new policy it makes the issue ripe for policy and procedure application/modification.

University Computing Services conservatively estimates each violation/complaint received from the RIAA costs 1 to 2 hours of staff time to research, and hundreds of complaints have been received thus far this academic year, from the RIAA alone.”

~ Marshall University Copyright Infringement Complaints Procedure, April 2007.

The following is a short summary of information aimed at improving Marshall University employees, students and affiliates awareness of current copyright law and ensure compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): Copyright Awareness, Illegal Downloading and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Please visit links below for the full text of MU Copyright policies and procedures:

Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
Marshall University Comprehensive Copyright Procedure
Copyright Infringement Complaints Procedure

Law and Policy

Copyright Law
U.S. Copyright Law and Related Laws Contained in the United States Code
Congressional Testimony
Statements to Congress by the Register of Copyrights.
Federal Register Notices
Copyright Office announcements, rules, proposed rules, and other notices.
Digital Millennium Act
Copyright Office summary of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Regulations
Copyright Office regulations codified in the Code of Federal Regulations(CFR)
No Electronic Theft (NET) Act of 1997
Copyright Office summary of the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997.
Current Legislation
Copyright-related legislation pending or recently passed in Congress.
Fair Use
Information about fair use of copyrighted material.
Reports and Studies
Reports and studies issued by the U.S. Copyright Office.
Mandatory Deposit
Information about requirements for depositing copies of works with the Copyright Office.
Rulemaking Proceedings
See the complete record of various rulemakings that involve solicitation of comments from interested parties, roundtable discussions, reply comments, and hearings.
Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices
A manual of Copyright Office practices and procedures.

Courtesy of the US Copyright Office Web Site

What is Peer to Peer File Sharing

Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing is a way of exchanging or transferring files over Internet. File sharing involves using technology that allows internet users to share files that are housed on their individual computers.

While P2P file-sharing is fairly generic technology and can be used for legitimate reasons, it is overwhelmingly used for illegally distributing copyrighted works such as music (MP3) or movie files, software, TV programs, books and images without permission from the copyright owner.

The majority of the files shared via Internet are copyrighted works. Moreover, transferring of a file from one person to another results in a reproduction, a distribution, and potentially a public performance of copyrighted material. Using P2P file-sharing technology inevitably leads to implicating copyright law.

Below is just a short list of the most common P2P programs used to exchange, or “share,” files. For a broader listing of P2P software, visit Wikipedia’s Peer-to-Peer Networking article.

Ares
BitTornado
KaZaA
Azureus
BitTorrent
LimeWire
BitComet
FlashGet
Morpheus
BitLord
Gnutella
uTorrent

Besides breaking the law, using this technology makes you and Marshall University susceptible to risks such as viruses, spyware, exposure of personal information and other attacks. When you install file sharing programs you may also installall kinds of spyware and adware on your computer without your consent. Read more about Risks of File-Sharing Technology.

Common Examples of Online Copyright Infringement

  • You make an MP3 copy of a song because the CD you bought expressly permits you to do so. But then you put your MP3 copy on the Internet, using a file-sharing network, so that millions of other people can download it.
  • Even if you don’t illegally offer recordings to others, you join a file-sharing network and download unauthorized copies of all the copyrighted music you want for free from the computers of other network members.
  • In order to gain access to copyrighted music on the computers of other network members, you pay a fee to join a file-sharing network that isn’t authorized to distribute or make copies of copyrighted music. Then you download unauthorized copies of all the music you want.
  • You transfer copyrighted music using an instant messenging service.
  • You have a computer with a CD burner, which you use to burn copies of music you have downloaded onto writable CDs for all of your friends.
  • Somebody you don’t even know e-mails you a copy of a copyrighted song and then you turn around and e-mail copies to all of your friends.

~Courtesy of Recording Industry Association of America web site.

What are the Penalties for Copyright Infringement

If you do not have legal permission, and you go ahead and copy or distribute copyrighted music anyway, you can be prosecuted in criminal court and/or sued for damages in civil court.

  • Criminal penalties for first-time offenders can be as high as five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
  • Civil penalties can run into many thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees. The minimum penalty is $750 per song.

The “No Electronic Theft Law” (NET Act) is similar on copyright violations that involve digital recordings:

  • Criminal penalties can run up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines, even if you didn’t do it for monetary or financial or commercial gain.
  • If you did expect something in return, even if it just involves swapping your files for someone else’s, as in MP3 trading, you can be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.
  • Regardless of whether you expected to profit, you’re still liable in civil court for damages and lost profits of the copyright holder.
  • Or the copyright holders can sue you for up to $150,000 in statutory damages for each of their copyrighted works that you illegally copy or distribute.

~Courtesy of Recording Industry Association of America web site.

What are the Consequences at Marshall

In the case of alleged infringement involving the internet or intranet, access to the internet by the computer identified in the complaint will be suspended pending adjudication. Once the workstation and responsible individual is identified as faculty, staff or student the following referrals for adjudication of the complaint will be made:

  • If the infringer is a student, the complaint will be referred to Student Affairs
  • If the infringer is a faculty member, the complaint will be referred to Academic Affairs
  • If the infringer is an employee, the complaint will be referred to Human Resources

The internet and intranet access is restored only when:

  • University Computing Services Help Desk has received notification from the appropriate department stating that:
    • the adjudication is complete and
    • it is recommended that fees be levied or not.
  • Appropriate fees have been levied and collected based upon the recommendation of the appropriate department:
    • first offense reconnection fee ‐ $50
    • second offense reconnection fee ‐ $100
    • a fee for investigations exceeding 1 hour in cumulative effort ‐ 45/hour or fraction thereof.

We encourage you to remove all peer to peer file sharing programs before connecting to Marshall network. This is the best way to avoid potential legal liability, thousands of dollars of fines, loss of internet/intranet access to MU network. Do not let it happen to you!

We encourage you to emove all peer to peer file sharing programs before connecting to Marshall network. This is the best way to avoid potential legal liability, thousands of dollars of fines, loss of internet/intranet access to MU network. Do not let it happen to you! Here are the directions for removing P2P software on different operating systems.

Windows 7 Computers

Use the Programs window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.

  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs and all of their components.
  2. Go to your computer’s Control Panel. You can go to it from your computer’s Start logo.
  3. Double click on the Programs icon.
  4. Locate the P2P software you are removing on the list of installed programs. Click once to highlight the software. At the top of the list of programs, select Uninstall.
    Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components.

    Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, click No if prompted to reboot your computer. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  5. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Windows Vista Computers

Use the Programs and Features window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.

  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs and all of their components.
  2. Go to your computer’s Control Panel. You can go to it from your computer’s Start menu.
  3. Double click on the Programs and Features icon.
  4. Locate the P2P software you are removing on the list of installed programs. Click once to highlight the software. At the top of the list of programs, select Uninstall.
    Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components.

    Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed. If you have more than one program to remove, click No if prompted to reboot your computer. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  5. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Windows XP Computers

Use the Add/Remove Programs window in the Control Panel to remove (uninstall) these programs – just as you would remove any program from your Windows system.

  1. Turn off all file-sharing programs and all of their components.
  2. Go to your computer’s Control Panel. You can get to it by following this path from your computer’s Start menu:
    Start -> Settings -> Control Panel or
    Start -> Control Panel
  3. Double click on the Add/Remove Programs or Add or Remove Programs icon.
  4. Select Change or Remove Programs.
    Click once to highlight the software you would like to remove, then click on the Remove or Change/Remove button.

    Follow the prompts on the screen to completely remove the software and its components. Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have companion programs that are not automatically removed (e.g., Kazaa and “My Search Bar”). If you have more than one program to remove, when prompted to reboot the computer, click No. Then repeat these steps until you have removed all file sharing programs.

  5. Make sure you reboot the system when you are finished.

Apple Macintosh Computers

  1. Quit all file-sharing programs.
  2. Locate the folder containing the P2P software that you want to remove. It is usually in the Applications folder.
  3. Double-click the P2P program’s folder to examine its contents.
  4. Some Macintosh-compatible P2P programs come with an “uninstall” program. If you see an “Uninstall” or “Uninstaller” program, run it to remove the P2P software.
    If you do not see such a program, go back to the Applications folder, and move the P2P program’s folder into the trash.
  5. Empty your computer’s trash folder.
  6. Go to the Apple menu and select Restart to reboot your computer.

How You Get Caught

Even though many P2P file sharing programs applications declare the protection of your identity, you can never be sure that you won’t get caught. When you download/upload files from some computer on the web there is always some form of Internet Protocol (IP) address exchange. Any participating network device such as computer or laptop is given its own IP address that is unique within the scope of the specific network.

Every time you log on to the Marshall University network your username, the time, associated IP number, and hardware address (MAC) of your computer entered into our network logs. With these pieces of information we can trace the network IP address back to the associated user account.

Organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) representing copyright holders persistently scan Internet traffic to identify transfers of files containing copyrighted material. When they determine the IP addresses involved in the file sharing, they send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to the Internet service provider such as Marshall University.

When MU Information Technology receives a notice alleging that the user has infringed a copyright, we must comply with DMCA in order not be held liable for illegal activity of our network users.

What Happens When You Get Caught

  1. DMCA complaint is sent to abuse@marshall.edu . MU must “act expeditiously to remove, or disable access to” copyrighted material. Infringers’s off campus access turned off until the further actions described in the Copyright Infringement Complaints Procedure are taken.
  2. Preservation Notice– requires MU to maintain data on listed cases.
  3. Pre-litigation Settlement option is given:
    • Notification e-mail to the infringer (only MU knows the infringer’s identity which is not disclosed to any external agency).
    • Infringer is invited to contact RIAA via the notice.
    • Infringer is given 20 days to voluntarily contact RIAA and settle (normal cost is @$3,000). If no settlement – litigation process begins.
  4. Subpoena – litigation process began. MU is required to provide the names and address of those cases listed.

Q: How do I know what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to copying music?
A: Here’s the bottom line: If you distribute copyrighted music without authorization from the copyright owner, you are breaking the law. (Distribution can mean anything from “sharing” music files on the Internet to burning multiple copies of copyrighted music onto blank CD-Rs and selling or giving them to others.)

Q: Is it illegal to upload music onto the Internet even if I don’t charge for it?
A: Yes, if the music is protected by copyright and you don’t have the copyright holder’s permission. U.S. copyright law prohibits the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted creative work whether or not you charge money for it.

Q: What will happen to me if I get caught illegally copying or distributing copyrighted music?
A: Under federal law, first-time offenders who commit copyright violations that involve digital recordings can face criminal penalties of as much as five years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines. You could also be sued by the copyright holder in civil court, which could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars more in damages and legal fees.

Q: Is downloading and uploading music really stealing?
A: If it’s done without the permission of the copyright holder, it’s legally no different than walking into a music store, stuffing a CD into your pocket, and walking out without paying for it.

Q: Are there any sites where it’s legal to download music?
A: There are plenty of Internet sites that offer music for legal downloading. To check them out, go to the legal sites section of this web site.

Q: If all I do is download music files, am I still breaking the law?
A: Yes, if the person or network you’re downloading from doesn’t have the copyright holder’s permission.

Q: Can I use E-mail or instant messenger services to exchange songs with my friends?
A: The use of e-mail or instant messenger services to exchange songs is governed by the same copyright laws that apply to any other form of reproduction or distribution.

Q: Am I breaking the law if I upload or download copyrighted music and leave it on my hard drive for less than 24 hours?
A: Reproducing or distributing copyrighted music without the permission of the copyright holder is against the law regardless of how long you hold on to the music.

Q: Is it legal to post music that is no longer “in print”?
A: Copyrights don’t last forever. Eventually all creative work becomes part of what is called the public domain—at which point anyone and everyone is free to copy and distribute it as they please. But just because a particular recording has gone out of print doesn’t mean its copyright has lapsed. If it hasn’t, then you need to get permission from the copyright holder before you post it.

Q: What if I upload or download music to or from a server that is based outside of the U.S.?
A: If you are in the United States, U.S. law applies to you regardless of where the server may be located.

Q: What if I download or upload poor-quality recordings?
A: The law prohibits unauthorized copying and/or distribution of digital recordings that are recognizable copies of copyrighted work. The quality of the recordings doesn’t matter.

Q: How do I know if something is copyrighted?
A: When you buy music legally, there is usually a copyright mark somewhere on the product. Stolen music generally doesn’t bear a copyright mark or warning. Either way, the copyright law still applies. A copyrighted creative work does not have to be marked as such to be protected by law.

Q: Doesn’t the First Amendment give me the right to download and upload anything I want, including copyrighted music?
A: The answer is, no, it does not. What copyright law prohibits is theft, not free expression.

Q: Doesn’t the “Fair Use doctrine” give me the right to download and upload copies of music I’ve purchased?
A: No, it doesn’t. In certain instances, the use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research might not constitute infringement, depending on (1) the purpose and character of the use, (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work has a whole, and (4) the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. However, courts have rejected the notion that uploading and downloading copyrighted sound recordings without permission constitutes “fair use.”

Q: Besides the record companies, who does copying music actually hurt?
A: First and foremost, illegal copying hurts the songwriters and recording artists who make the music. These people depend on the royalties they get from the authorized sales of their recordings to make a living. Many recording artists receive most of their income from royalties. For many young artists, income from royalties means survival. In the end, illegal downloading means that artists won’t be fully rewarded for their hard work and devotion to their craft.

Additional Resources

Visit The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) website to learn about the importance of copyright protection and better ways to enjoy digital content.