The File Sharing and Copyright Infringement Enforcement procedure enhances existing copyright infringement information found in the parent policies and serves to more effectively explain enforcement. Upon receipt and verification of a copyright infringement notice, the File Sharing and Copyright Infringement Enforcement procedure will be applied. The context of the procedure is as follows:
Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, including peer-to-peer file sharing, is prohibited by Federal law. In addition, Wittenberg University prohibits illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material using the institution’s information technology systems as outlined in the following documents:
Student Code of Conduct and Ethics – Office of Student Development
Computer Use Policy – Computing Services
Student violations will be investigated and will be addressed in the following manner:
First Offense (Based on initial notice(s) received from the copyright holder(s)):
Second Offense (Repeated notices after the student receives the initial warning letter):
Violators may also be subject to civil and criminal penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws. Penalties can include the following:
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.