music against the law?”
- If you are downloading music or other copyrighted
material using Peer-to-Peer file sharing technology (such
as Kazaa, Limewire, etc.), you are breaking the law. Peer-to-Peer
file sharing of copyrighted works without the permission
of the copyright holder amounts to copyright infringement.
- The Copyright Act grants copyright owners the exclusive
rights of reproduction and distribution of their material. When
you download a song, you are violating reproduction rights;
when you share music files, you are violating distribution
- Civil Fines range from $750 to $150,000 for each infringed
work, depending on the willfulness of the infringement. Criminal
sanctions are possible too.
- The Recording Industry Association of America is aggressively
suing individuals who illegally participate in Peer-to-Peer
File sharing on the Internet. Hundreds have been
sued. Many defendants are college students.
- Four college students recently settled copyright infringement
lawsuits filed against them for approximately $15,000
Common misconceptions about file
1. “If someone has purchased a CD from a store, then
the songs have been paid for, and it’s not against the
law to share them.”
- Peer-to-Peer file sharing is a totally different activity. File
sharing causes the reproduction of copyrighted material. Reproduction
is the exclusive right of the copyright owner.
2. “I download music, but I don’t share any files … so
I’m not doing anything wrong.”
3. “I don’t share any files over the Internet anymore,
so I can’t be tracked … and I won’t get caught.”
- Downloading copyrighted files amounts to reproducing
copyrighted material and is against the law, even
if you don’t share anything.
- Anytime you are connected to a file sharing program
(no matter if you are sharing files or even if you are
not downloading at that moment) your IP address can be
tracked. The only way to be sure that you are not tracked
is to stop using file sharing programs completely.
4. “I took Kazaa off my computer; now I’m safe.”
- If the RIAA or any copyright holder has tracked your
file sharing in the past, they can still sue you. The
best way to avoid legal liability is to stop using file
sharing programs AND to delete ALL of the copyrighted files
you have downloaded.
What is Ouachita’s stance on the
file sharing issue?
- Peer-to-Peer file sharing of copyrighted material
violates various Ouachita Baptist University policies,
including the Code of Computing Practices and the Copyright
Policy. Violation of OBU policies subjects file sharers
to possible university sanctions.
- Here are some excerpts from Ouachita’s policies regarding
this issue …
- “Unauthorized copying or use of digital material
(e.g. Computer software, movies, music, intellectual
material) is ILLEGAL and unethical.
- If the University becomes aware of persons utilizing
the Campus network for such purposes, those persons
could be considered in violation of the Code of
Computing Practices, and appropriate actions will
- For more information, go to http://support.obu.edu/stpolicies.htm
What can I do to avoid both LEGAL and INSTITUTIONAL consequences?
- Stop using Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs to download
copyrighted material. (If you have used such programs
to download copyrighted material in the past, it may be
wise to remove the program from your computer completely.)
- Delete all the copyrighted files you have downloaded. (This
includes music, movies, videos, etc.)
Positive outcomes if Ouachita students
voluntarily stop downloading copyrighted material …
- The University will not have to get involved and possibly
restrict our Internet privileges in order to stop students
from breaking the law and violating Ouachita policy.
- Our Internet will be faster! (File sharing programs
take up a considerable amount of bandwidth. If we stop
downloading and sharing files, more bandwidth will be available
for normal Internet use.)
- You won’t be breaking the law anymore. (If you
continue to download and/or share files with the knowledge
that it’s illegal, you are libel for the maximum penalty
of $150,000 for each song you download and/or share.)