Copyright Infringement, Computer Use and File Sharing

Copyright infringement is a violation of MCU’s Student Code of Conduct. Users of the MCU’s computer network are prohibited from unauthorized use of copyrighted material, including Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing. Violators of this policy may face civil or criminal liabilities as well as sanctions from MCU.

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 “willfull” 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 5 years, and fines up to $250,000, per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQs at