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Higher Education Opportunity Act, and the distribution of copyrighted works
Peer-to-peer file sharing provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA-P2P) require ASU to share information with you annually about copyright policy and law. Specifically, we're required to tell you that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject you to federal civil and criminal liabilities. In plain English, this means that if you share or illegally download things like music, movies, and software without the author's permission, you may have to pay a fine or even spend time in jail -- even if you did it without knowing you were doing it.
What are the federal penalties?
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 attorney's' 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.
What is ASU's policy?
ASU routinely receives copyright infringement notices from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other copyright holders. Information in these notices is cross-referenced with ASU's network information to identify individuals who violate copyright laws.
ASU refers copyright infringement cases to the appropriate authorities. In addition to the federal penalties listed above, ASU takes disciplinary action against students who engage in illegal downloading or file sharing. University penalties may include, but are not limited to:
suspension or revocation of your computer, lab, and network privileges
removal of your computer from the network
mandatory awareness training
notation in your student and/or employee disciplinary record
You can read the rest of ASU's policy on this matter in the following documents:
Where can you download materials legally?
Many sites allow legal downloads of music, movies, or software; some offer content free of charge. You probably know of some already: iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Hulu, and Amazon. You can find a list of legal download sites online at:
ASU also licenses some software for students to download and use free of charge. You can find this software online by logging in with your ASURITE ID at: https://myapps.asu.edu
Where can you find more information?
In addition to the documents and Websites referenced above, you can find more information on copyright infringement from the HEOA-P2P compliance plan.