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Copyright 

Policy and Law 

Security Alert!

Violation Notices

FAQ

Copyright

This site has been set up to help you understand copyright laws and policies as they apply to digital materials he

re at Mary Baldwin College. We are here to tell you about the College’s commitment to protecting lawful copyrights, the administrative process used to handle infringement cases, and ways you can protect yourself from being involved unwittingly in illegal activities.

MBC takes copyright issues very seriously. If you download a song or a movie, a computer game or a software application in violation of its copyright, you’re not just eating up all the bandwidth in your dorm – you’re stealing. If you share those copyrighted materials with others, you’re helping them to steal, too. In addition, you might also be charged with an MBC Honor Offense.

Industry lawyers are beginning to target individuals who violate their copyrights. You could be liable to huge fines – even jail time – if you infringe. If it comes to the College’s attention that you’re violating digital copyrights, you could find yourself with no network access – that means no email, no Instant Messenger, no Internet. And it may cost you money to get it back.

Leaving home to go to college means more autonomy for you, more freedom to make your own choices. It also means a greater burden of responsibility – so choose wisely.

Use the navigation bar at left to find the information you need about copyright issues and how the affect you.

Policy and Law

Simply stated, the College’s policy is to respect copyright laws. The people who create and own digital materials are afforded certain copyright protections by federal law. If you compromise those protections by using copyrighted materials in an unlawful way, you are also violating MBC policy.

To get the complete story on Mary Baldwin’s policy as it relates to copyright, visit the policy page at http://academic.mbc.edu/library/copyright.html.

What is the DMCA?The DMCA is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. This legislation was enacted by the U.S. Congress in order to meet the unique challenges to traditional copyright law that were posed by digital media. MBC’s policies with regard to notification of digital copyright violators and sanctions on abuse are based on the provisions of the DMCA.You can find the U.S. Copyright Office’s summary of the DMCA at http://www.loc.gov/copyright/legislation/dmca.pdf.

Violation Notices

Industries that rely heavily on creation and sale of digital materials – like record companies, movie studios, and software vendors – monitor the Internet aggressively to detect and prosecute violations of their copyrights. When one of these agencies discovers what it believes to be a copyright infringement by a computer on the MBC network, it triggers the following chain of events:

  1. The agency sends a violation notice to the College administration. (See a sample violation notice)
  2. The College asks OIT to locate the computer specified in the alleged violation, determine who owns or is responsible for that machine, and send that person a copy of the notice. Just for illustration purposes, let’s say that person is you.
  3. If it’s the first time you’ve been cited for a violation, your internet access will be temporarily blocked.  On campus services like MBCMail, Library, Blackboard will still be available to you.  During this time,  you must search for and delete any files on your computer that match the file name(s) specified in the complaint, and notify OIT within three business days that the material has been deleted. In addition, you might also be charged with an MBC Honor Offense.
    • To look for specific files, Windows users should click on “Start”, then “Search”, then “Find Files and Folders”, and key in the file name. Mac users should click on “Find…” from the File menu of Finder. If you need help, you can contact the OIT Help Desk at **.
    • If you don’t reply back within three business days, OIT will disconnect your machine from the College network, which will also block access to MBC provided services. In that case, OIT will reconnect you to the network threemore business days after we hear back from you that the files have been removed from your computer. The reconnect fee is waived for first-time incidents.
    • To Ensure you do not get further violations, you should consider removing any Peer-2-Peer file trading software installed on your computer.
  4. If this is not the first time you’ve been cited, the outcomes are harsher:
    • For a second incident, your machine is disconnected from the network immediately, including access to MBC Services. Ten business days after you notify us that the problem is resolved and pay a $100 reconnect fee, your network access is restored.
    • The third time you are cited, you are disconnected immediately from the network. You are not eligible for reconnection until forty days after you inform CIS that you have removed the specified files from your computer, and pay a triple reconnection fee ($300). You might also be liable for more serious College judicial proceedings.

While it may well be that you were unaware your activity was illegal – or that someone else has used security vulnerabilities in your computer to conduct illegal activity without your knowledge – you are still responsible for how your computer was used and all the outcomes described above still apply.

Can the College protect the identities of individual students from industry representatives?The College can’t protect individuals who, knowingly or not, distribute copyrighted material without an appropriate license. Typically, when industry representatives send a copyright complaint to MBC, they don’t ask us to identify the specific person whose computer hosted the alleged infringement; they just want it stopped. If they do make such a request via a court order, though, the College has no choice but to comply. Individual students have been sued for copyright violations in cases like these.

Counter-notification

If you are certain that you are legally using the material the copyright owner says you are infringing upon, or that the copyright owner has misidentified the material, you can file a counter-notice – after you remove the specified material from your computer or network access to your machine has been disabled.

Find out more about counter-notification >>

Security Alert!

Aside from copyright considerations, there are security aspects you might want to consider before opening up your computer for file sharing.

  • Peer-to-peer file sharing applications like KaZaA, iMesh, and Gnutella can render the private contents of your computer – your confidential data files, saved emails, financial records, etc. – vulnerable to exploitation. For this reason, OIT strongly recommends against installing and using these applications. If you have a peer-to-peer file sharing program already installed, we recommend you remove it. At the very least, disable your peer-to-peer software’s uploading capability. To find out how, visit University Of Chicago Peer-To-Peer Site.
  • Also, unless it’s absolutely essential that other people be able to access non-copyrighted materials on your computer, we urge you to disable the general file sharing capabilities of your operating system. Computers that have file sharing turned on are tempting targets for hackers, who often exploit that feature to take over victims’ machines. Need help disabling file sharing on your computer? Check out the online Help features of your system or visit the web site of the operating system vendor (Microsoft, Apple, etc.) for more information.
  • Of course, just as you should avoid sharing your computer with everyone on the Internet, you should also prevent anyone else from using your machine or your computing accounts directly. Use a strong password, keep the password a closely-guarded secret, and turn off the computer when you’re not using it. To find out more about creating a strong password, visit the MBC Acceptable Use Policy.

Shut the door on hackers and other computer vandals. Don’ t share your files.

FAQ

Look here for answers to some of the most-asked questions concerning digital copyrights here at MBC.
Come on! Is downloading copyrighted stuff really stealing?
What can happen to me if I’m caught downloading or sharing files in violation of their copyrights?
Doesn’t my First Amendment right to free expression allow me to upload and download whatever I want?
Isn’t downloading and uploading of digital material protected by the “Fair Use” clause of copyright law?
Is it illegal for me to share copyrighted stuff even if I don’t charge for it?
How can I tell when something is copyrighted?
Can the College protect the identities of individual students from industry representatives?
What is a copyright violation complaint notice?
What is the DMCA?
Can I legally download and share public domain material?
I received a copyright violation notice and I need to delete a copyrighted file from my computer. Where do I find it on my machine?
I’ve heard that sharing files from my computer can be a security risk. Is that true?

 

Come on! Is downloading copyrighted stuff really stealing?

If it’s done without the permission of the people who own the copyright – yes, it’s really stealing. According to the law – as well as to the performers, writers, software engineers, and other people who make their living from royalties – downloading a song or a movie or a piece of software in violation of its copyright is no different from walking into a retailer and shoplifting it. Really.
What can happen to me if I’m caught downloading or sharing files in violation of their copyrights?

If it’s the first time you’ve been cited for a violation, then you must search for and delete any files on your computer that match the file name(s) specified in the violation notice, and notify OIT within three business days that the material has been deleted. If you don’t reply back within the time limit, OIT will disconnect your machine from the MBC network. In that case, OIT will reconnect you to the network three more business days after we hear back from you that the files have been removed from your computer. Reconnection fee is waived for first-time offenses.

If this is not the first time you’ve been cited, the penalties are harsher. For a second offense, your machine is disconnected from the network immediately, and reconnected ten business days after you notify us that the problem is resolved and pay a reconnection fee.

The third time you are cited, you are disconnected immediately from the network. You are not eligible for reconnection until forty days after you inform OIT that you have removed the specified files from your computer – and your reconnection fee is tripled. You might also be liable for College judicial proceedings.

Even if you were unaware your activity was illegal, or if someone else used your computer to conduct illegal activity without your knowledge, you are still responsible for how your computer is used, and all the penalties described above still apply.

Of course, those are just the sanctions imposed by Mary Baldwin College. Industries represented by the people who generate the violation notices can – and have shown that they will – prosecute you to the extent the law allows. You can be sued in criminal court, where penalties for first-time offenders can add up to $250,000 and five years in jail; and/or civil court, where you could face damages of up to $150,000 per title for copyright works that you’ve downloaded or shared.
Doesn’t my First Amendment right to free expression allow me to upload and download whatever I want?

Nope, it doesn’t. The courts have shown that they regard copyright infringement as theft, not as free expression.
Isn’t downloading and uploading of digital material protected by the “Fair Use” clause of copyright law?

No. “Fair Use” basically covers the use of copyrighted materials for academic kinds of activities – teaching, scholarship, research, news reporting, etc. It strictly regulates the nature of the copyrighted material; the specifics of how it’s being used; the amount that’s being used (as a proportion of the whole work); and the effect of such use on the potential market for that material. If you’re sharing your Eminem CD with others on the Internet – even if you bought the CD legally – it’s not fair use.
Is it illegal for me to share copyrighted stuff even if I don’t charge for it?

Even if you’re not making any money from doing it, it is still illegal for you to distribute material without permission from the copyright holder. Whether you are profiting or not, you are still taking money out of the pockets of musicians, actors, writers, etc. by giving away the fruits of their labors for free.
How can I tell when something is copyrighted?

If you get the material legally – by buying a CD, DVD, etc. – there is usually a copyright mark or warning on it somewhere. That’s not always the case, though; and a work doesn’t have to have a copyright symbol on it to be protected by law. When in doubt, assume it’s copyrighted.
Can the College protect the identities of individual students from industry representatives?

The College can’t protect individuals who, knowingly or not, distribute copyrighted material without an appropriate license. Typically, when industry representatives send a copyright complaint to MBC, they don’t ask us to identify the specific person whose computer hosted the alleged infringement; they just want it stopped. If they do make such a request via a court order, though, the College has no choice but to comply. Individual students have been sued for copyright violations in cases like these.
What is a copyright violation complaint notice?

This is a notice that is sent by industry representatives to the College, to complain of a specific copyright violation here. The complaint identifies the particular offense that is alleged to have taken place, as well as the date and time of the infringement and the IP address of the computer on which it happened.

See a sample violation notice >>

To find out what happens when the College receives a notice like this, read Violation Notices.
What is the DMCA?

The DMCA is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. This legislation was enacted by the U.S. Congress in order to meet the unique challenges to traditional copyright law that were posed by digital media. MBC’s policies with regard to notification of digital copyright violators and sanctions on abuse are based on the provisions of the DMCA.

You can find the U.S. Copyright Office’s summary of the DMCA at http://www.loc.gov/copyright/legislation/dmca.pdf.
Can I legally download and share public domain material?

Yes. If the copyright has expired on a work and it is truly in the public domain, you can copy and distribute it freely. Be careful though! Just because something has gone “out of print” – it’s no longer being sold retail, or being reproduced for purchase – doesn’t mean that it is public domain.
I received a copyright violation notice and I need to delete a copyrighted file from my computer. Where do I find it on my machine?

To look for specific files, Windows users should click on “Start”, then “Search”, then “Find Files and Folders”, and key in the file name. Mac users should click on “Find…” from the File menu of the Finder. If you need help, you can contact the Help Desk at **.
I’ve heard that sharing files from my computer can be a security risk. Is that true?

You bet it can! Running peer-to-peer file sharing applications like KaZaA and Gnutella can open the door for criminals to gain access to the private contents of your computer or use it to attack other machines on the network. Find out more under Security Alert.