Copyright Infringement Policy
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Copyright Infringement Policy

NECI Peer to Peer File Sharing and Copyright Policy

Users of the NECI computer network may not use peer-to-peer file sharing programs. For the purposes of this policy, a peer-to-peer file sharing application is any application that transforms a personal computer into a server that distributes data simultaneously to other computers. Please note that copyrighted materials cannot be shared by any means without proper permission. This includes sharing via network file shares, the web, or any other means and is not limited to peer-to-peer programs.

NECI is committed to preventing the misuse of NECI's computer network and other information technology resources. This policy does not ban legal peer-to-peer file sharing through use of the college network. NECI utilizes a learning management platform and files can be easily shared and transferred via this platform.

NECI will continue to support technologies that facilitate legitimate information dissemination and academic collaboration. As outlined in NECI’s Student Conduct Policy above, students are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including possible suspension or dismissal, for anti-social or illegal behavior that jeopardizes the welfare of others.

Students are expected to exhibit appropriate conduct while using electronic media and are subject to equivalent disciplinary sanctions for inappropriate behavior, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, illegal downloading, or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution’s information technology system. Inappropriate or unlawful transmission of electronic materials, including unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, is strictly prohibited and may be subject to civil and criminal penalties as well as disciplinary action.

For further information on copyright and fair use guidelines, please contact Library Services.

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 of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the U.S. Copyright Office website especially their FAQ's.