The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is legislation enacted by the United States Congress in October 1998 that made major changes to the US Copyright Act. These changes were necessary in part to bring US Copyright law into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also strengthened the legal protection of intellectual property rights in the wake of emerging new information communication technologies.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and File Sharing at LSU
Downloading and sharing copyrighted material online without permission is unethical and illegal. Louisiana State University (LSU) is dedicated to addressing and resolving issues of copyright infringement, as well as implementing preventative measures and policies to ensure proper use of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications on the campus network and within the residential housing network.
As of August 1, 2009, students implicated in a DMCA copyright violation (and upon verification) will be assessed a $50 fine, charged to the student’s Bursar account. This fine is not intended to generate profit; rather, it provides a mechanism for recovering costs incurred in reviewing and processing DMCA notifications, and funding programs for awareness (e.g., education and ad campaign costs). LSU is not the first institution to charge a fee for copyright violations – several other institutions also charge fees for DMCA violations.
It was agreed that $50 per incident is a reasonable amount to offset costs generated by activities such as: reviewing law, case law, and developments; maintaining procedures that keep LSU compliant with law; ensuring each person responds to and complies with the same process; responding to questions from members of the University community; and education and ad campaign costs.
In addition to sending complaints to LSU, copyright owners may also take direct legal action against alleged infringers, and subpoena the University for information about people sharing files. The No Electronic Theft (NET) Act provides for serious criminal penalties, including a fine of up to $250,000 and a potential jail sentence. Lack of knowledge about copyright infringement laws will not excuse one from legal consequences, or from action by the University. It is your responsibility to be aware of the legality of your actions.
Click HERE for more details on DMCA copyright violation procedures.
Click HERE for information on LSU's HEOA P2P requirements.
Please see Illegal File Sharing at LSU and About RIAA for additional details on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), preventative measures, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Will I be responsible for the DMCA copyright violation and the $50 fine if someone else commits the violation using my assigned LSU account?
Yes, if you allow another individual to use your assigned LSU account (and upon verification), you will be accessed a $50 fine (not the individual you allowed to use your assigned LSU account) . PS-107, Computer Users’ Responsibilities, states that “each user of computing resources shall secure and maintain computer accounts, passwords, and other types of authorization in confidence, and inform ITS immediately if a known or suspected security breach occurs". Please see www.lsu.edu/itpolicy for additional details.
How do I know what is legal and what is not when it comes to copying music?
Here is the bottom line: If you distribute copyrighted music without authorization from the copyright owner, you are breaking the law. Distribution can mean anything from "sharing" music files on the Internet to burning multiple copies of copyrighted music onto blank CD-Rs.
Is it illegal to upload music onto the Internet even if I don’t charge for it?
Yes, if the music is protected by copyright and you do not have the copyright holder’s permission. U.S. copyright law prohibits the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted creative work whether or not you charge money for it.
If all I do is download music files, am I still breaking the law?
Yes, if the person or network you are downloading from does not have the copyright holder’s permission. Peer-to-peer systems like KaZaa, Grokster, Gnutella, LimeWire, Morpheus, WinMX, Aimster, and Bearshare have music that is not legal for you to download.
What if I upload or download music to or from a server that is based outside of the U.S.?
If you are in the United States, U.S. law applies to you regardless of where the server may be located.
What if I download or upload poor-quality recordings?
The law prohibits unauthorized copying and/or distribution of digital recordings that are recognizable copies of copyrighted work. The quality of the recordings does not matter.
If I bought the CD, is it okay to make copies of it?
It is illegal to copy a CD for use by someone other than the original purchaser. This means it is illegal to loan a friend a CD for them to copy, and it is illegal for you to make mixed CDs and distribute them to your friends as well.
How do I know if something is copyrighted?
When you buy music legally, there is usually a copyright mark somewhere on the product. Stolen music generally doesn’t bear a copyright mark or warning. Either way, the copyright law still applies. A copyrighted creative work does not have to be marked as such to be protected by law.
Where can I legally download music, movies, and other content?
Educause maintains a list of legal sources of online content. Click here to access the list.