Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one of 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 order 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 Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at http://copyright.gov/.
Copyright Infringement and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policies and Procedures
The following links provide information about UNT Dallas policies and Procedures related to copyright infringement and unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, including disciplinary action taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using UNT Dallas information technology systems. The information also includes a notice that informs students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities. A summary of the penalties for violation of federal copyright laws is also provided.