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Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission of 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 State Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work.  In the peer-to-peer file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of 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.


For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office, especially their FAQ‘s.


Below is a brief summary of the State Tech unauthorized peer-to-peer file-sharing procedure and penalties.

  • Upon receipt of a copyright infringement notice or upon detection of an alleged violation, the Information Technology Division will pursue identification of the infringing user.
  • First time offenders will be disconnected from the network and sent a notification of infringement as well as a request to agree not to share copyrighted material on the STC network without proper permission.
  • Further infringements will be reported to the Associate Dean of Student Services for further discipline.
  • Penalties for copyright infringement range from the loss of computer resources to dismissal from the College, prosecution, and/or civil action.



Responsible administrator or office: IT

Contact person in that office: Director of IT

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 16, 2023

Approved by President: August 16, 2023

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