Judicial Affairs
Illegal Downloading/Copyright Infringement

Some people seem to believe that if you can get something for free through a “legal” service, it must be all right. However, this is not the case with Internet piracy. While peer-to-peer software sharing sites are legal to share files that are not copyrighted, downloading copyrighted materials such as music, videos, games, graphics, and information has become one of the most controversial issues on the Internet…..and is ILLEGAL.

Fort Hays State University does not permit such types of illegal downloads. Approximately 100 violations were discovered at FHSU during the Fall 2009 semester. Most violations were due to illegal downloads of music, and some were movies. When notified of these copyright infringements, the University must take action in order to comply with federal law.

First, the source’s Internet access is revoked. Second, the student is required to meet with the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs to learn about the actions that must be taken to resolve the situation and have his or her Internet access restored.

Here is a list of actions YOU can take to avoid violating copyright law and FHSU acceptable use policies:

  • Access only files and data that you own, have been given authorization for, or that are publicly available.
  • Use only legal versions of copyrighted software in compliance with vendor license requirements.
  • Do NOT make or use illegal copies of copyrighted software or other copyrighted materials (such as digitized artistic productions and music or video files), store such copies on FHSU systems, or transmit them over FHSU networks.
  • Take advantage of sites that offer free music, clip art, photos, and graphics, etc... If you are not sure whether an image is free, request permission from the source before downloading or copying it.
  • Whenever using a program to download music or movies, read the fine print. Some programs have fees for faster uploads--however, the user is not paying for the music itself, which usually results in illegal downloads. If a deal seems too good to be true--it probably is.
  • If you have any doubt about whether your intended media use is legal, DON’T DOWNLOAD.

See the following references for more information:
FHSU Acceptable Use of Computing Resources Policy
http://www.fhsu.edu/ctc/computer policies

Campus Downloading
http://www.campusdownloading.com/ 

Recording Industry Association of America
http://www.riaa.com/ 

Entertainment Software Association
http://www.theesa.com/ 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998:
http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf 

DMCA Overview, by the UCLA Online Institute for Cyberspace Law and Policy:
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/iclp/dmca1.htm 

Copyright Education Presentation, by the Picture Archive Council of America:
http://www.pacaoffice.org/copyrightPresentation.shtml