Peer to Peer (P2P) File Sharing and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Policy on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights

Related Documents

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA amends federal copyright law to provide certain liability protections for online service providers, when their computer systems or networks carry materials that might violate (infringe) copyright law (See DMCA Summary [pdf] or Full Version [pdf]). To qualify for liability protection and to comply with the Federal Higher Educational Opportunities Act, Fisher is required to have a policy under which the computer accounts of users will be terminated if they repeatedly infringe the copyrighted works of others.

The objectives of this policy are to minimize liability to the University while also providing support for the activities of faculty, staff, students, and guests. Generally, “copyright” is legal protection for any creative intellectual work, which is broadly interpreted to cover just about any expression of an idea. Text (including email and Web information), graphics, art, certain databases, photographs, music, videos, and software programs are examples of the types of work protected by copyright. The creator of the work, or sometimes the person who hired the creator, is the initial copyright owner. In the context of copyright and other intellectual property, this means that the proper authorities at Fisher should be advised as soon as possible of any suspected infringement. If the University considers it reasonable, it will work with the content provider to establish any defenses. However, if there is inadequate information to provide a defense, if it appears that no reasonable defense exists, or if the University believes any content is inappropriate, the University may, in its sole discretion, remove allegedly infringing or inappropriate material.

Policy Statement

Compliance with federal copyright law is expected of all students, faculty, staff, and guests at St. John Fisher. You may “use” all or part of a copyrighted work only if (a) you have the copyright owner’s permission (in writing—either email or letter), or (b) you qualify for a legal exception (the most common exception is called “fair use”). “Use” of a work is defined for copyright purposes as copying, distributing, making derivative works, and publicly displaying or performing the work. (SJF Copyright and Fair Use Checklist) Copying, distributing, downloading, and uploading information on the Internet may infringe the copyright for that information. Violations of copyright law that occur on or over the university’s network or other computer resources may create liability for the College as well as the computer user. Accordingly, repeat infringers are subject to the appropriate conduct process set forth in the conduct policies for students, faculty, staff, and guests. The university reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cooperate with law enforcement officials, and violations of law may also be referred for criminal or civil prosecution. Faculty, staff, students, and guests are encouraged to secure copyright permission, a license, or a legal basis for use of someone else’s intellectual property, before using the material.

When a Violation is Identified

Procedures for handling a violation are initiated as early as possible when notification is made to the University. Upon receiving a notification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA):

  • A response is sent notifying the RIAA that the College has received the violation notice and is acting on it.
  • A file is started to collect information regarding the violation.
  • The violator is identified.
  • The violator’s access to the campus network and the internet is stopped.
  • The case is referred to the Student Judicial System or Human Resources Office as appropriate.
  • Upon conclusion of the judicial and/or Human Resources process, RIAA is notified of the closure of the case and its resolution.

Penalties for Violations

Violations of the DMCA fall under the Appropriate Use and Privacy Policy. In addition, financial liability for statutory damages including legal fees is possible under the DMCA. More information can found at the following website:

Legal Downloading Alternatives

Legal alternatives do exist for downloading video, music and other media. Below are some websites with more information:

Policy Review Procedure

This policy is reviewed annually to evaluate its overall effectiveness and applicability to DMCA and HEOA requirements. Changes in legal alternatives for downloading will be included in future updates.

Questions regarding this policy and notice of any possible infringement should be directed to:

Vice President for Finance and Business and CFO
St. John Fisher  
3690 East Avenue 
Rochester, NY 14618 
Phone (585) 385-8012

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Article ID: 34298
Wed 7/26/17 9:53 AM
Tue 7/5/22 10:56 AM