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Copyright Infringement

Copyright Infringement Policies

Student Code of Conduct

Regarding copyright infringement, ISU’s Student Code of Conduct discusses academic policies in Section 2.

Section 2.1 defines academic integrity misconduct, and states, in part:

Written or other work which students submit must be the product of their own efforts and must be consistent with appropriate standards of professional ethics. Any academic integrity violation(s), which includes cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of dishonest or unethical behavior, is prohibited. A summary of behaviors that constitute academic integrity misconduct appears below. Examples of each policy can be found in the Faculty Guide to Academic Integrity as well as the Student Guide to Academic Integrity. Questions regarding these policies or requests for additional clarification should be directed to the Office of the Provost, Student Affairs, or to the office of Student Conduct and Integrity (SCI).

2.1.8 Misuse of Intellectual Property Misuse of intellectual property is the improper use of copyright materials, trademarks, trade secrets, or intellectual property (e.g. thoughts, ideas or works of another).

Section 5.0 discusses conduct process outcomes, such as formative, referral, administrative, loss of privilege and disciplinary status outcomes.  Disciplinary Status Outcomes include conduct probation, temporary separation (suspension), and permanent separation (expulsion).   Section 6.0 discusses appeals and the appeal process.

Please review or download the Student Code of Conduct here              

University Handbook

Regarding file-to-file sharing software, ISU’s University Handbook contains Policy 941 File-Sharing which states, in part:

File Sharing Programs are programs that function in a peer-to-peer structure and are designed to share files (music, video, software, images, etc.).

File sharing programs will not be installed on Indiana State University computers (except as noted under “Exceptions”).

If file-sharing programs are observed on Indiana State University computers (other than those covered under “Exceptions” noted below), the head of the office or department concerned will take such actions as are necessary to have the program immediately removed. If necessary, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken to ensure that no others will be installed.

Please review the University Handbook here  Policy 941 File-Sharing can be found here     


Penalties for Copyright Infringement

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

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission of 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 cost 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, see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office.


Legal Alternatives for Downloading Copyright Materials

Suggestions for legal sources

Cunningham Memorial Library has a great collection of DVD’s, CD’s, books and even games, all free to rent with your Sycamore ID card.

EDUCAUSE provides a comprehensive list of sites for legal streaming or downloading of content here   





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