Digital Copyright Compliance

Students at UM-Dearborn are encouraged to engage in safe and legally compliant file sharing of copyrighted materials.  The university is required by federal law to inform students about legal risks related to infringement of digital copyrights. Our goal is to help you comply with federal law, and ensure that you are well-informed and empowered to avoid unnecessary risk.

It is important to be aware that there are civil and criminal statutes, as well as University of Michigan policies, that prohibit the unauthorized acquisition, distribution, or sharing of copyrighted materials.  Legally protected materials can include music, movies, television shows, and published materials.  Using peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing web sites and software programs may result in you illegally uploading or downloading copyrighted works, even without your knowledge.  Some P2P systems even hide the fact that you are uploading. 

There are serious consequences associated with violating these copyright laws, including civil and criminal penalties.  In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay damages from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed.  For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed, as well as criminal penalties which can include imprisonment up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.  In addition to the legal consequences, violation of University policies can result in disciplinary action, including termination of access, disciplinary review, expulsion or termination of employment, legal action, or other action deemed appropriate.

Don't put yourself at risk.  There is information available to help educate you about legal file sharing, and to protect you from unwittingly engaging in unlawful activity.  To learn more, visit the following web sites.