Notice Regarding Illegal File Sharing

Illegally downloading copyrighted materials is strictly prohibited. Why?

  1. It is illegal. Both the U.S. Copyright Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, prohibit the distribution or sharing of copyrighted works without the copyright owner’s permission.
  2. It is dangerous. The “peer-to-peer” software that is used for file sharing may bypass your computer’s operating system security and open your entire computer, along with your personal information, to anyone on the Internet. Programs such as Kazaa, Bit Torrent, and others may affect your computer’s performance and can cause system crashes or loss of your data.
  3. It degrades performance. Because it is the nature of these programs to share your files with as many computers as possible, the resulting volume of network traffic can slow down or disable your connection.  It also violates our Acceptable Use policy.
  4. Finally, it is wrong. Artists, writers, musicians, and other creators of intellectual property rely upon copyright to protect their works. Without copyright, there would be no way to protect their income and no incentive to make their works available to us through books, music CDs, videos, etc. When you violate copyright by downloading and sharing these works, you are depriving the artist of real income, and clearly that is wrong.

If you have illegal files, delete them immediately and stop participating in illegal file sharing.

Legal Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

Here are some sites that provide legal access to movies, TV shows, music, and games.




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

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or 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 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 up to $250,000 per offense.  For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at: