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Illegally Obtained Materials

Pirated music, movies, software

"Pirates experience slow sailing."
"Pirates will walk the plank."
"Pirates take what isn't theirs."

What does this mean? Stealing digital content, such as music, movies and software, is known as piracy. At Georgia College, we are not pirates, and the university encourages all campus community members to not illegally obtain these materials. People who do engage in these activities can be subject to slow internet speeds, legal ramifications and more.

As part of Georgia College’s commitment to raise awareness on issues related to illegally downloaded materials and to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, we would like to make you aware of laws and policies concerning the use of copyrighted material, such as digital movies, music, software, etc.

All users of the GC network (wired as well as wireless) are required to abide by all state and federal laws governing copyrights and trademarks as well as other applicable laws and all applicable university policies. The use of copyrighted material may require the permission of the copyright owner. The absence of a copyright notice or symbol on a work does not denote a lack of copyright. You are required to obtain written permission before you are allowed to use any GC materials, trademarks or logos for commercial or any other unofficial university purpose.

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). The rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial portions of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright.  Faculty in Georgia are specifically and individually responsible for proper application of fair use and copyright requirements in their contexts. Refer to the USG Policy on the Use of Copyrighted Works.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may incur either actual damages or statutory damages of not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per infringement. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per infringement. For details, refer to Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504 and 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties including up to 5 years incarceration and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information please refer to the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, particularly their FAQ at http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

In addition, we would like to remind you what GC policy (pdf) expressly forbids the sharing or serving of copyrighted material without the proper consent of the author. Failure to comply with this policy may result in restriction or loss of university network access and/or disciplinary action through the Office of Student Affairs. Should you infringe on a copyright while using a university network, GC will be notified with the specific information regarding the work infringed and enough information to identify you specifically on the network.

You have many alternatives to illegal file sharing and downloading in order to avoid civil and criminal charges. One of the best sources for a list of legally downloadable online content is: http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent.

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