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Copyright Infringement Policies Procedures Sanctions

The U.S. Department of Education requires the College to inform students, staff, and faculty about our policies regarding responsible use of Wooster’s technology resources, and in particular, the risks of acquiring and sharing copyrighted materials without the appropriate permissions. 

 “Copyrighted materials” is the U.S. Department of Education’s official term for music, video, and other media files.

We are required to tell you that:

  1. Unauthorized acquisition and distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized file sharing and attempts to modify College systems to permit such activities, are considered a violation of The Wooster Ethic and the College’s “Appropriate Use Principles & Policies”.  If it has been determined that you have acquired or distributed copyrighted music, video or other media files, or tampered with or modified College systems to do so or attempt to do so, you will be subject to College disciplinary procedures and sanctions. In addition, such unauthorized acquisition and distribution of copyrighted materials may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities; and that
  2. Possible College sanctions include: loss of access to College technology services, including network and Internet access; community service; one or more educational projects; restitution; conduct probation; recorded disciplinary probation and loss of participation privileges; holding an office in any student organization; College housing sanctions; removal from the campus, except for classes, for a stated period of time; suspension; or expulsion from the College.  Students who work within the Information & Planning division, which includes technology areas, may be terminated from their positions; and that
  3. The U.S. Department of Education has advised colleges and universities that 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.

[Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws, U.S. Department of Education, June 4, 2010]

We encourage you to review The Wooster Ethic and the “Appropriate Use Principles & Policies” guidelines. 

If you are seeking to access and download media files, there are legal alternatives for doing so, and you likely have subscriptions to the services and use them (many home cable TV or satellite dish providers offer “watch anywhere, anytime” Internet-based services).  A list of legal streaming and download resources may be found on the Educause website, at http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent.

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