Institutions of higher education, including Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, continue to receive copyright infringement notifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), and other content owners for illegal file sharing by downloading or distributing their copyrighted works over the Internet using the university networks. While these notifications primarily implicate students, the notices occasionally identify faculty and staff employees as the infringers. This is a reminder that distributing copyrighted materials by file sharing is not legal and that such sharing can have serious legal consequences for the individuals involved. Music, videos, movies, games and software are typically illegal to share and doing so, even unknowingly, can result in civil liability and penalties against the individuals, not the university networks. Copyright infringement at SIUE is also a violation of the SIUE Information Technology Services Responsible Use Policy.
The legal consequences of copyright infringement through illegal file sharing rests exclusively, in almost all cases, with the individual, not the online service provider. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires SIUE, as an online service provider, only to notify the individual of the infringement allegation and to disable that individual’s access to the SIUE network. SIUE fully complies with the law when a notice of infringement is received. However, the owner of the copyrighted material, such as the RIAA, MPAA, or ESA, then has the right to seek legal remedies for copyright infringement against the alleged infringer, but not SIUE. SIUE is not a party to these legal proceedings, SIUE cannot and will not participate in the infringement proceedings, and, therefore, any and all legal costs will be paid by the individual copyright infringer. These costs, usually in the form of settlement agreements with the content owners, can be substantial.
Please keep in mind that all activity coming from your office computer or any computer logged in with your e-ID and password, including wireless or modem, is your responsibility. It is even possible that you have software on your computer that is illegally sharing music without your knowledge, even music that you have bought and the SIUE network only recognizes you by your IP address. If you file share copyrighted material using your computer or IP address, whether intentional or not, it is very likely that the infringement will be discovered by the content owners. In fact, music, movie, and software distributors are increasingly using automated systems to detect online copyright violations, even small ones. The odds of detection are rising, rapidly.
In order to avoid receiving an infringement notice from an industry content owner, you must not engage in file sharing copyrighted materials. Here are some practical steps you can take to make sure your computer is not capable of illegal file sharing: