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 Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov.
Texas A&M complies fully with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). Users of the Texas A&M network found to have engaged in repeated infringement of copyright are subject to termination of their network access and may be reported to the appropriate Dean or Human Resources officer for disciplinary action.
Texas A&M’s policies with respect to copyright infringement are found in Student Rule 22. Rules for Responsible Computing and University Rule 29.01.03.M2 Rules for Responsible Computing. Student Rule 24. Student Conduct Code identifies the violation of copyright laws using computing facilities and resources as misconduct subject to disciplinary sanctions as outlined in Student Rule 27, Sanctions.