Illegal File Sharing Notice

To: All Utah Valley University Students, Faculty, and Staff
From: Ray Walker
Chief Information Officer
Date: August 31, 2009
Subject: Illegal Sharing of Copyrighted Materials

This is an important notification intended for your protection.  Please take it seriously!

Courts have recently imposed fines between $22,500 and $80,000 per song (or other copyrighted material) against individuals found guilty of violating copyright laws.

The purpose of this memo is to officially notify all students, faculty, and staff, that it is a violation of federal law and University policy to share and/or distribute copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. Violators may be subject to civil and criminal prosecution under federal law, as well as personal sanctions specified in University policy.

The University has received complaints from representatives of the motion picture, music recording, and software industries. The majority of the complaints are directly related to the use of file-sharing software, such as KaZaA, Gnutella, eDonkey and similar programs.

File sharing software is most commonly used to download music and other media. Many do not realize that this software may turn your personal computer into a server, or upload site, even if that was not your intent. Files on your network connected PC may then be illegally shared with every other person connected to the World Wide Web. It is imperative that the file sharing capability of these systems be disabled. If you do not know how to disable this function, please contact the Service Desk at 801-863-8888.

Industry representatives aggressively monitor the Internet to discover incidents of illegal file sharing. When violations are discovered, they contact the network owner and/or the Internet Service Provider and demand that the offending device be disconnected from the network. To protect the user and the University from further culpability under federal copyright law or University policy, the University will disable network access for any machine for which a complaint of copyright infringement has been received.

To restore network service, the user must contact the Service Desk and arrange to sign a document stating that the user has disabled the file sharing function of their software and has agreed to discontinue all illegal file sharing activity. If the user is named in additional complaints, they may lose long term access to network service. Students will be referred to the Dean of Students, staff to their Vice President, and Faculty to the Academic Vice President for further review and action.

Action taken by the University to remedy a violation does not preclude the copyright holder from seeking civil and/or criminal prosecution for copyright 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.

Students are encouraged to find alternatives to illegal file sharing such as purchasing music, movies, and other copyrighted materials through on-line stores and services.  Examples of such services include iTunes,, Barnes and Noble, Rhapsody, etc.