Copyright Law    

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 website of the U.S. Copyright Office at

Students need to know that they can lose their Internet access or get slapped with a costly copyright infringement lawsuit if they aren’t careful about uploading and downloading files using programs like Kazaa and Bittorrent.

Students are warned that the RIAA aggressively monitors file transfers and has filed civil lawsuits against individual file sharers. Many cases have settled for a $3,000 penalty. The RIAA routinely monitors TAMUG for suspected violations.

Duplicating copyrighted materials without permission or consent from the manufacturer is illegal. Unlawful use of the CD/DVD Burners installed in the computer labs or any University owned computers is a violation of copyright law.

We hold no liability for the illicit use of this equipment; you are solely responsible for your actions.

Texas A&M Student Conduct Code and Standard Administrative Procedures (SAP) are available at the following links. (SAP 29.01.02, Student Rules 22.2.3 and Code of Conduct 24.4.19)

For more info see the following website on copyright laws:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

Acceptable Use of the Internet: Guidelines for State Agencies and Institutions of Higher Education, Texas Department of Information Resources.

Alternative Legal Content Providers: Alternative Sites For Legal Downloads