email to all students, August 29, 2012
We would like to remind you about Duke’s copyright infringement policy, in accordance with provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA).
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs (e.g. BitTorrent) are very popular for sharing large files across the Internet. While file sharing is not illegal, you should be aware that there are two problems with these popular programs:
1) If the files being shared are protected by copyright (as the vast majority of songs, movies, books, and software are), sharing them is a violation of federal law, according to section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code) and can result in criminal and/or civil penalties.
2) They consume excessive amounts of Duke's available bandwidth, resulting in slower network speeds and interfering with other uses of the network.
When Duke receives a takedown notice from a copyright holder, we are obligated to pass the notification along to the individual associated with the IP address at the time of the infringement. In the past, college students have been the targets of lawsuits by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and others for copyright violation, and many have paid large fees to settle those lawsuits and avoid going to court.
Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties, ranging from “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 and can also impose criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. Earlier this week a judge upheld a $675,000 judgment against a Boston University student for sharing two-dozen songs.
For detailed information about legal sources of online content, including Duke's procedures for copyright infringement complaints and other legal and related notices, see: https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/dos/riaa-file-sharing.
Complying with copyright law is an essential part of the Duke Community Standard and of being a Duke student. It is also the right thing to do as a member of an intellectual community.
Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs
Tracy Futhey, Vice President for Information Technology