Copyright Infringement Policy

The federal Copyright law (Title 17, United States Code, Section 10 et seq.) requires students at Rockhurst University to respect the proprietary rights of owners of copyrights and refrain from actions that constitute an infringement of copyright or other proprietary rights. 

Potential Civil and Criminal Sanctions for Copyright Infringement

Students who disregard this policy place themselves individually at risk of civil and criminal liability.  As a general matter, a person who is found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay actual damages or “statutory” damages in an amount of not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed.  For a “willful” infringement, damages may be awarded by a court up to $150,000 per work infringed.  Courts can also assess costs and attorneys’ fees, in its discretion.  See 17 U.S.C. §§ 504 and 505.  Also, “willful” copyright infringement can result in imprisonment of up to five years for a first time offense and additional fines. See 17 U.S.C. § 506 and 18 U.S.C. § 2319. 

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

It is a violation of copyright law to use file sharing software (e.g., BitTorrent, KaZaA, Limewire, etc.) to download music, movies, and other copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder.

All network traffic is subject to monitoring procedures conducted by the Office of Information Technology for purposes of determining compliance with University policies.  Outside parties also actively monitor the internet to find incidents of illegal file sharing and may notify the University of such activity.  When such a notification is provided by an outside source, the University may disable a person’s network access until the situation is resolved. 

If a campus community member is found to have illegally shared files over the University’s network, the full range of disciplinary sanctions are available (along with the civil and/or criminal penalties the person may be subject to), including:

  • Indefinite or permanent loss of computer privileges and network access;
  • Denial of future access to the University’s IT resources;
  • All disciplinary sanctions available pursuant to the University’s policies and handbooks;
  • Dismissal from the University; and/or
  • Legal action.

Alternatives to illegal downloading copyrighted materials, both paid and free, are abundant on the Internet.  Common sources include, but are not limited to: Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Rhapsody, etc.