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Respect Copyrights

It is important for you to be aware of the laws and policies concerning the use of copyrighted material, especially digital material – music, movies, software, etc. As part of our commitment to raise awareness on these and other issues concerning your online safety and as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, we want to remind you of a few things.

All users of the network, including the Internet, at The University of Alabama are required to abide by and comply with all state and federal laws governing copyrights and trademarks as well as other applicable state and federal laws and applicable University policies. The use of copyrighted material may require the permission of the copyright owner. The absence of a copyright notice or symbol on a work does not denote a lack of copyright. Copyrighted works can include, but are not limited to, text, graphics, music, and photographs. In addition, you are required to obtain written permission before you are allowed to use any University of Alabama copyrighted materials, trademarks, or logos for commercial or any other unofficial University purpose.

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.

More information about Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyright Infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may incur 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 include other 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 at www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ at http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

In addition, we would like to remind you that The University of Alabama’s policy expressly forbids the sharing or serving of copyrighted material without the proper consent of the author. Failure to comply with this policy may result in restriction or loss of University network access and/or disciplinary action through the Office of Student Conduct.

Should you infringe on a copyright while using a University network, the University will be notified with the specific information regarding the work infringed and enough information to identify you specifically on the network.

So you will be aware of the process, this is what will happen upon receiving a notice of alleged copyright infringement:

  1. A Service Desk Ticket is created to track this incident and you will be notified of the infraction, the infringed work and your next actions.
  2. Access to the University’s network is suspended. The Office of Student Conduct is notified.
  3. If this is your first infraction, you are required to cease the file sharing and provide a description of what was done to prevent such an infraction in the future, before your network access is restored.
  4. If this is not your first infraction, you are required to bring your computer to the OIT Service Desk (125 Gordon Palmer Hall). The Service Desk must certify that the file sharing application and the infringed work have been removed before network access is restored. There is a charge of $70 for the scanning and removal of viruses, file sharing programs, and infringed materials.
  5. The Office of Student Conduct may contact you regarding this infringement as a Code of Student Conduct violation.
  6. After your computer has ceased the sharing of copyrighted works, we can restore your network access.

You have many alternatives to illegal file sharing and downloading in order to avoid civil, criminal, and policy entanglements. One of the best sources for a list of legally downloadable online content is http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent.

For more information, visit http://www.ua.edu/copyright.html.

Thank you.
The Office of Information Technology

The University of Alabama

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