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Copyright Information


The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is obligated to enforce or comply with a variety of state and federal laws. This includes complying with a number of federal laws designed to protect electronic copyrighted material. Specifically these laws prohibit everyone from engaging in peer to peer (P2P) file sharing of copyrighted music, movies, or software. For a summary of potential civil and criminal liabilities for violating these federal laws, please see below.

Such acts are also a violation of university policy 17.09(10). Are you one of the students who believe you won’t get caught? During the 2008-2009 school year UWGB received 200 notices about 130 students who were identified as engaging in P2P file sharing. When the university receives such notices, we are required to cooperate with such investigations, which could lead organizations such as the RIAA or the MPAA, along with their teams of lawyers to you.

So how do I avoid becoming one these students? Some tips are posted on the CIT website to help you better secure you computer or look for programs that could be sharing files without your knowledge. We encourage you to read through this information and check your computer. If you need assistance, please contact the IT Service Center located in the lower level of the Community Center or the Instructional Services building. You can also find information at campusdownloading.com or respectcopyrights.org.

As mentioned earlier, such violations of copyright laws are also a violation of university policy. Here is a summary of what will happen to you should the university determine you were engaging in this behavior:

  • Loss of campus network access for 7 to 45 days
  • Submit a signed Computing Behavioral Agreement to the Dean of Students Office
  • Bring the device to one of the IT Help Centers for a review
  • Additional sanctions may be added depending on the policy violation
  • More details about enforcement as well as recommended sites to purchase music from are available here

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Dean of Students Office at 465-2152, or for technical questions, one of the Help Centers (465-5163 or 465-2309)

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

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 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's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.


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  University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311   Phone: 920.465.2152   Fax: 920.465.2191   dosmail@uwgb.edu
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