Search Roosevelt University

Student Notification of Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

More in this section...

downloading and sharing your favorite music may be illegal!

Even though peer-to-peer file sharing itself is not illegal, what and how you share may be. Before you download your favorite song to share with your friends, be aware that the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material is against United States federal law and you may be subject to criminal and civil penalties. And it’s not just songs - the law also applies to videos, games, textbooks, and any other type of creative content. You can violate the rights of the copyright holder using many different types of technology. To be sure you don’t cross that line read what the library has about copyright and fair use of materials.

File sharing networks are monitored regularly and take-down notices and subpoenas are issued to colleges demanding that student contact information be provided for the purpose of filing a lawsuit against the student. According to Title 17 of the United States Code, Sections 504 and 505 (17 USC 504, 504), those who violate the law, even unintentionally, can be subject to penalties ranging from $750 to $150,000, plus attorney and court fees.  According the Chronicle of Higher Education, one federal judge even upheld a jury’s decision to fine a Boston University graduate student $675,000 for the unauthorized distribution of only 24 songs!

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material is also against Roosevelt University’s Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources policy. Respect for copyrighted material and intellectual property is an important aspect of academic integrity. Choosing to ignore that can result in disciplinary actions as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct section of the Student Handbook.  

But all is not lost! You can find legal alternatives for downloading by visiting the following site:

This policy is based, in part, on the Susquehanna University policy as well as Title 17 of the United States Code and is in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, 34 CFR 668.43(a)(10).