Technology Copyright

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File Sharing and Copyright Infringement

Notice to All Students Regarding Internet Copyright Infringement and Digital Millennium Copyright Infringement Notices

The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires higher education institutions, including USD, to inform students annually about copyright infringement and DMCA notices. Uploading, downloading, or sharing  songs, videos, games and software without permission of the copyright holder is illegal. Illegal downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials can result in criminal or civil prosecution. Content owners, such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and Home Box Office (HBO), use technological means to track file sharing of their intellectual property on the Internet.

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, especially their FAQ's.

The University of South Dakota regularly receives infringement notices.  As a matter of policy, the University responds by notifying the infringing individual upon their first offense, then by referring the case to the office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) upon subsequent alleged violations.

Please note that Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing software scans your computer's hard drive and distributes files automatically. To stop this from happening, follow the instructions found in Disabling P2P.

Whether or not you have legally downloaded data, you are still responsible for activities of your computer on the USD network.  Information on legal media can be found at Legal Sources for Online Music and Videos.