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Acceptable Use and File Sharing

ASU is committed to facilitating access to information through its computer networks as part of its mission to prepare students to be responsible citizens and to have productive careers. However, the university’s mission also depends on respect for intellectual property law; therefore, the university will take steps to prevent the illegal distribution of intellectual property.

Illegal File Sharing

In most cases, it is a violation of intellectual property law to distribute, offer for distribution, share, or copy a software program, movie, or song without the owner’s express consent. While we do not monitor the university’s networks for such activity, we do cooperate with requests from intellectual property owner’s to take action when such illegal sharing takes place. For example: You purchase a music CD or movie DVD and digitize the content of the disc, then share the digitized version of the song(s) or movie through file-sharing software such as Limewire or Bit Torrent. Since you do not own the intellectual property rights to the song(s) or music, you have illegally offered those songs to others who have not purchased a license to own and play that content.

Annual Disclosure

Students accessing the ASU network will be required to agree with the university’s information security policies which references copyright and digital media rights. 

University Policy and Sanctions

If notification is received from a copyright holder that illegal downloading or sharing of a copyrighted work has taken place by a student, ASU will immediately block network access for the student. Access can be restored as follows:

  1. On the first offense, you must delete the files that were identified being shared illegally and the software used to share the files. Then notify the Technology Service Center that the files and software have been deleted to have network access restored. 
  2. On the second offense, you must delete the files and software. The incident will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary review. Network access will be restored once you have met any requirements from the Office of the Dean of Students.
  3. On subsequent offenses, your access to campus networks will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks. You will also be required to meet in person with a member of the ASU Information Security Office to discuss the offense before your network access is restored. 

If notification is received from a copyright holder that illegal downloading or sharing of a copyrighted work has taken place by an employee, ASU will immediately contact the responsible party for resolution of the incident.  The head of the department the employee works in will also be notified of any actions taken.  Any issues with compliance will be directed to the Human Resources department for resolution.

In addition to detection, notification and correction of illegal file sharing, the university employs technology tools to prioritize network traffic. If you feel that you have legal peer-to-peer or other network sharing that is being interfered with, please contact the IT Service Center for assistance.

Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

Educause provides a list of alternatives to illegal downloading.

Legal Sources of Online Content

Civil and Criminal Penalties

A summary of the civil and criminal penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws is as follows:

  1. Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits; or
  2. The law provides a range from $750 to $30,000 for each work infringed, unless the court finds that the infringement was willful. In such cases, the maximum penalty is increased to $150,000.
  3. The court may award attorneys’ fees and court costs.
  4. The court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
  5. The court can impound the illegal works.
  6. The infringer can be sent to jail for up to 10 years.

More information is available in the full text of Chapter 5 of the Copyright Law of the United States of America, “Copyright Infringement and Penalties”.

Copyright Law: Chapter 5