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Copyright Laws

Prohibition of the Unauthorized Electronic Distribution of Copyrighted Material

The University prohibits students from using its computer systems and networks to violate copyright law. Copyright owners have the right to control, within certain limits, how their works are published, distributed, and sold, and the right to be paid for the use of a work. Unless a student is the copyright holder or has express permission to share someone else’s copyrighted works, the distribution of copyrighted works to the Internet to share via a peer-to-peer network is almost certainly violating another person’s copyrights.

What is the unauthorized electronic distribution of copyrighted materials and peer-to-peer file sharing?

Peer-to-peer file sharing occurs when individuals store files on their computers and enable their computers as servers so that others may download the files. The University strictly forbids peer-to-peer file sharing applications (e.g., Kazaa, BearShare, Gnutella, LimeWire, BitTorrent, Morpheus) or any application used to violate copyrights or any federal or state law. Violations include copying or distributing copyrighted media such as songs, movies, software, video games, text and pictures, without authorization from the copyright owner.

Proper Use of University Networks and Computers

The University’s networks and computers may only be used for educational-related objectives of the University. University networks and computers may not be used to operate file sharing programs, including peer-to-peer file sharing applications for the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials.

Use of file sharing applications can harm student users and the University. A student who runs a file sharing application may be inadvertently sharing personal information, such as e-mail messages and credit card information. In addition, virus writers often target file sharing applications. Finally, file sharing programs may disrupt Internet access and performance of programs used for academic work on University networks.

University Procedures to Prevent and Remedy Distribution of Copyrighted Materials

All use of University networks and computers, including e-mail accounts, may be monitored by the University at any time without notice to identify and mitigate usage in violation of federal copyright laws. Computers found to be engaging in peer-to-peer activity on University networks will be automatically blocked from accessing the network for 30 minutes.

The University has a multi-tiered approach to using technology based deterrents to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the Strayer network. These deterrents are periodically reviewed against industry best practices by Strayer’s IT Department, and enhancements are made as determined appropriate.

The Strayer IT department will continuously monitor the effectiveness of the controls, review other institutions' practices to determine if there are different approaches worth exploring and regularly monitor the technological, social, and legal trends to make additional reasonable and appropriate measures if necessary.

Disciplinary Action and Legal Penalties

Violation of this policy may result in an immediate suspension or loss of computer or network privileges at the University and will also subject a student to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension and expulsion from the University. If appropriate, violations may also be reported to local or federal law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject copyright infringers to civil and criminal liabilities. Infringers may be assessed civil damages from actual losses of copyright owners caused by infringement and any additional profits of the infringer due to the infringement. In cases of willful infringement, the damage assessed can be up to $150,000 per infringed work. Costs and attorney’s fees and injunctive relief may also be awarded to a copyright owner. In addition, infringers may be subject to criminal penalties, including imprisonment up to five years, and forfeiture, destruction or other disposition of infringing copies. Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material may implicate other laws that protect intellectual property, such as the federal Lanham Act or state laws regarding unfair competition and misappropriation.

Legal Alternatives for Downloading or Otherwise Acquiring Copyrighted Materials

There are many legal ways to download copyrighted materials. Unlike illegal file sharing, these services, as permitted by Strayer University policy, can be used to access materials like songs and movies without violating the law. Many online music services allow you to download individual songs or albums for a fee. Both the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have web sites that list was to legally download copyrighted materials. Some of the more popular ways to download copyrighted material include:


Movies and Television

Note Regarding Third Party Content:

The resources listed below and elsewhere on this website contain links to third party websites as a convenience in locating information and services for our users. The existence of these links is not to be construed as an endorsement by Strayer University of the content of any of these external sites, nor does Strayer University take any responsibility for the content, the accuracy of the information and/or the quality of products or services provided by or advertised on these third-party websites. Strayer University disclaims, to the fullest extent permissible by applicable law, any and all liability and responsibility for any claims or damage that may arise as a result the use of any websites maintained by third parties and linked to the Strayer University website. Any link to websites not controlled by Strayer University are not subject to Strayer University’s privacy notice, and users are advised to read the privacy policies of any third-party sites accessed through this site. Users should also contact the third party site owner for additional information or support for the products listed on those sites.