Week 5: Copyright Infringement

Download Legally

Week 5: Copyright Infringement

Illegally downloading and sharing copyright protected content such as music, movies, ebooks, and software is a crime! Violators may be sued for up to $250,000 and spend five years in a federal prison.

Every year, ACCC receives hundreds of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notifications of Copyright Infringement. By law, we are required to investigate and take action. Many of these notices require the university to stop the illegal downloading and sharing in reported instances. An increasing number of these notices however arrive in the form of settlement letters where the copyright owners seek monetary damages from the responsible party to prevent a lawsuit. In these cases, the owners of the copyright are essentially saying that if you click on the provided link and pay the specified amount, they will agree not to sue you for that specific instance of copyright infringement.

In collaboration with the Dean of Students Office, ACCC has established the UIC Policy on Copyright Infringement and Peer-to-Peer Abuse. A protocol has been established to legally comply with DMCA notifications to protect our campus community, while providing education and resources about Copyright Infringement to those who are infringing the law.

Last academic year, we suspended 325 users for violations of the DMCA, and unfortunately some of those reported incidents involved settlement letters requesting payment of monetary damages from those individuals. This academic year, ACCC has noticed an increase in the number of copyright holders issuing settlement letters!

When discussing DMCA notices with students, the Security Officers often hear comments similar to, “I’ve been downloading like this at home for years and it was never a problem, why is it a problem here?”  While we cannot speak for your home internet service provider, it could be that they received the notices and never forwarded them on or perhaps they never received them. Regardless, UIC is legally obligated to take action on all notices it receives.

Remember to always use legitimate movie and music services and to abide by copyright law. As a resource, Educause maintains a list of Legal Sources of Online Content.  For information on “Fair Use” visit the University Library resource copyright.uic.edu.

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