Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in 1998 and is designed to protect the rights of copyright holders in the use of their work. It allows for criminal and civil penalties for copyright infringement. Members of the Hartwick College community should be aware that:

  • Copyright laws (intellectual property laws) protect the rights of people who create “works” (such as music, video, books, photos) by making sure that the copyright holders have the final say over the use of their work and receive compensation for their efforts.
  • Buying the “work” does not give you the right to do whatever you want with the work (e.g. making copies and giving them away), unless the copyright owner specifically allows it.
  • The use of file-sharing peer-to-peer programs (such as BitTorrent, Kazaa, Limewire, Morpheus, etc.), leaving copyrighted material in shared folders, and posting copyrighted material on YouTube, Facebook or other sites can be done only with permission of the copyright owner. Otherwise, it is illegal.
  • Copyright owners take unauthorized use seriously, and organizations representing them can sometimes trace what computers are doing the illegal sharing.
  • If you are downloading or sharing files to avoid paying for them, it’s probably illegal.

Downloading, posting, and sharing copyrighted material without appropriate authorization by the copyright holder is a violation of both the DMCA and Hartwick College’s User Responsibilities and Appropriate Use Policy.

Hartwick College may be notified when a member of the Hartwick community is allegedly in violation of the DMCA. Typically, the DMCA requires the College to attempt to identify the computer system on which the alleged infringing material is stored or posted, contact the computer owner, and request that the material be deleted and/or file-sharing activity ended.

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject a student to civil and criminal liabilities. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages between $750 and $30,000 per work infringed, and possibly court costs and attorneys' fees as well. 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. See also Institutional Requirements for combating the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the institution's network and the U.S. Copyright Office's FAQ.

Hartwick College’s policy and procedure for addressing notices of alleged copyright infringement includes provisions for research fees, fines and disciplinary sanctions, including loss of all College network access privileges. See applicable section of Student Code of Conduct and Campus Policies

Legal sources of music and videos:

Music: Lists from the Recording Industry Association of America

Movies and TV Shows: Lists from the Motion Picture Association of America

Miscellaneous: Lists from Educause