What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a legal protection that gives the developer of an original piece of work (intellectual or artistic) exclusive rights for a certain time period. Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of copyrighted material.

What is Piracy?

Piracy is the recreational downloading of copyrighted materials. Piracy is a violation of both federal law and college policy. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAAP) have been cracking down on piracy in the US and targeting university and college networks, since this is where the highest amount of copyright infringements occur.

What is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Software?

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software allows users to download and distribute files from computer to computer across networks using P2P protocols, regardless of whether the user has paid for the files. When users have not paid for these files, they break federal and international copyright laws.

Piracy is not the only down side of using P2P software. P2P software allows users to access your computer and potentially hack into your private data. The result is exposure of your computer to significant security risks from viruses, worms, and hackers that could lead to possible loss of data, identity theft, and other liabilities.

College Actions for Violation

Sharing music, videos, or other copyrighted materials using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) applications over the network exposes you and anyone you share files with to legal action.

If a notice is sent from a trusted agency to Cosumnes River College, then the student's account will be blocked from accessing the WiFi network. The student in question may have to go through the college's disciplinary process to regain access.

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.

Additional Resources