Copying and distributing copyrighted material without permission may incur civil and criminal liabilities. This includes peer to peer file sharing.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Law located at Title 17 of the United States Code. These rights include the right to reproduce and distribute a copyrighted work. Sharing files that contain parts of a copyrighted work without permission constitutes infringement.
Penalties for copyright infringement include actual damages and “statutory” damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed in addition to costs and attorney’s fees. Willful infringement may also result in imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense should the court impose criminal penalties.
Activities such as uploading or downloading unauthorized copies of text, music, videos, games, computer software, or any other material protected by copyright may also incur serious personal consequences such as terminating your university computer privileges or affecting your status at the university. Students and other members of the BYU community should review the BYU Copyright Policy and Repeat Infringer’s Policy, which further describe the consequences of committing copyright infringement.
If you are unsure whether any files you would like to download are legally authorized, review the Media and Copyright information of the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website, or contact the BYU Copyright Licensing Office.
A paper copy of these policies and related information is available on request from the BYU Copyright Licensing Office.