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Digital and Electronic Copyright Infringement

Copying, downloading, storing, displaying, or distributing copyrighted material using University systems or networks without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under the copyright law, is prohibited. Under the Federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, repeat infringements of copyright by a user can result in termination of the user’s access to University systems and networks, and further prosecution as is warranted by state and Federal Laws and the Federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. 

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (34 C.F.R. Section 668) by the United States Congress and signed into law by on August 14, 2008, requires the educational institutions be proactive in the prevention of illegal downloading and copyright infringement. The following is Delta State University’s policy regarding illegal peer-to-peer file sharing.

It is the policy of DSU that any illegal peer-to-peer file sharing over the University’s network is prohibited. All users who access the Delta State University network acknowledge that they are aware of and agree to this and all University policies.

 

College/Unit Policy Officer: A person with responsibility for issues having broad-based policy implications for students, faculty, and staff in the college/unit; an Associate Dean or similar position.

Copyright law: The Copyright Law of the United States of America is contained in Title 17 of the United States Code (U.S.C) and is available at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/title17/ protects “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” for a limited period (17 U.S.C. §102). Copyright protection includes, for instance, the legally secured right to publish and sell the substance and form of a literary, artistic or musical work. The federal copyright statute governs the reproduction of works of authorship. In general, works governed by copyright law include such traditional works of authorship as books, photographs, music, drama, video and sculpture, and also software, multimedia, and databases. Copyrighted works are protected regardless of the medium in which they are created or reproduced; thus, copyright extends to digital works and works transformed into a digital format.

Copyright Infringement: Copying, storing, displaying, or distributing copyrighted material using University systems or networks without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under the copyright law, is prohibited. Under the Federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, repeat infringements of copyright by a user can result in termination of the user’s access to University systems and networks, and further prosecution as is warranted by state and Federal Laws and the Federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

Electronic Communications: The use of computers and network systems in the communicating or posting of information or material by way of electronic mail, bulletin boards, or other such electronic tools.

Illegal Downloads:  to transfer files or data from one computer to another without the permission of the copyright owner

Network Systems: Includes voice, video and data networks, switches, routers, wireless devices, and storage devices.

Peer to Peer File Sharing:  allows internet users to transfer digital files directly from computer to computer

System or Network Administrator: A university employee responsible for managing the operation or operating system environments of computers or network systems, respectively.

University Computers and Network Systems (University Systems): Computers, networks, servers, and other similar devices that are administered by the university and for which the university is responsible. Throughout this policy, the shortened term "university systems" is used to mean all university computers and network systems.

 

The distribution of copyrighted materials over the Internet for which the distributor does not have permission is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”). Most of the music, games or videos downloaded through file-sharing programs lack permission of the copyright owner.

Delta State University receives notices of copyright infringement under the DMCA. These notices come from software or entertainment industries that focus their Internet scans for specific games, songs or videos.   To alleviate its potential liability, Delta State University must respond to these notices expeditiously and will take the following steps:

  1. Upon receipt of notification, the Office of Information Technology must identify the source of the complaint. 
  2. DSU is requested to confirm a cease and desist action to the copyright agent. 
  3. The IP address from which the complaint originated will be disabled.
  4. The CIO, and the Director of Housing or the respective department head will meet with the party to explain the complaint and advise on how to remove the copyrighted material from their machine. 
  5. Once the information has been removed, OIT will be authorized to re-enable the IP address.
  6. If the individual ignores the request, access will not be restored until proof can be furnished that the copyrighted material no longer exists on the individual’s computer or associated devices.
  7. On second violation, the party risks having their Internet access permanently disabled. 
  8. Appeals: Individuals may appeal findings or rulings to the Director of Housing or the respective department head. Appeals may then move to the Vice President for the respective area.

Legal Alternatives for Downloading

The following legal alternatives for downloading materials from the Internet are available. Delta State University does not endorse any specific commercial product and endorses the sites below only that they provide legal alternatives for downloading music, movies, books. 

 Federal and State Penalties

  • Federal Law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, rental or digital transmission of copyrighted sound recordings (Title 17, United States Code, Sections 501 and 506). Code available at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/title17/ Criminal penalties for first-time offenders can be as high as five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. 
  • Civil penalties can run into many thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees. The minimum penalty is $750 per item (song, video, etc). 
  • The “No Electronic Theft Law” (NET Act) is similar on copyright violations that involve digital recordings. Congress enacted the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act in 1997 to facilitate prosecution of copyright violation on the Internet. The NET Act makes it a federal crime to reproduce, distribute, or share copies of electronic copyrighted works such as songs, movies, games, or software programs, even if the person copying or distributing the material acts without commercial purpose and/or receives no private financial gain. Prior to this law being passed, people who intentionally distributed copied software over the Internet did not face criminal penalties if they did not profit from their actions. Electronic copyright infringement carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Mississippi Code: 
The Mississippi Code http://www.sos.state.ms.us/ed_pubs/MSCode/ 

Violations:

Violations of these policies may result in the immediate suspension of computer account and network access pending investigation of circumstances and may lead to their eventual revocation. Serious violations of the policy will be referred directly to the appropriate University or outside authorities.  Unauthorized use of University computing facilities can be a criminal offense. The penalties may be as severe as suspension or dismissal from the University and/or criminal prosecution.

Violators of this policy will be dealt with according to the details outlined in the University’s Appropriate Use of Computing and Network Resources policy.  Those who cannot accept these standards of behavior will be denied use of Delta State computers or network systems. Violators may also be subject to penalties under University regulations and under state and federal laws.

  • Appropriate Use of Computing and Network Resources

 

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