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Digital Millennium Copyright Act

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is legislation enacted by the United States Congress in October 1998 that made major changes to the US Copyright Act. These changes were necessary in part to bring US copyright law into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also strengthened the legal protection of intellectual property rights in the wake of emerging new information communication technologies, i.e., the Internet.

The DMCA has five titles, or sections, with Title II having the most immediate impact on the Brescia University community. Title II outlines certain legal duties with which Online Service Providers (OSPs) must comply in order to limit their legal liabilities in the event a user of their service violates copyright laws. An OSP is defined as “an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications.” For purposes of the DMCA, Brescia University gets it internet service through Norlight Communications and is regarded as an OSP for users of the Brescia University information technology infrastructure. Chris Ford of the Brescia Information Technology Department is the contact for DCMA notices for Brescia University.

The copyright owner can choose to either send complaints through the OSP for action, or serve legal notice to the infringer directly. Pleading a lack of knowledge about copyright infringement laws will not excuse the user from legal consequences. It is the user’s responsibility to be aware of these legal consequences. For this reason, Brescia University strongly encourages users to educate themselves about the current state of copyright law as it applies to file sharing over the Internet, and to keep up-to-date on changes to copyright legislation

Sanctions for copyright infringement

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material using Brescia University’s information technology resources — including sharing copyrighted music, movies, and software through peer-to-peer applications like LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc. using Internet access provided by Brescia University — is against the law and university policy. Unlawful file sharing may subject you to legal penalties, which can include any or all of the following:

•Having to pay money to the copyright holder in a lawsuit — between $750 and $30,000 for each file, and up to $150,000 for each file if the infringement was willful
•Having to pay the copyright holder’s costs and attorney fees to bring the lawsuit
•Criminal fines of up to $250,000, and up to 10 years’ jail time — even if someone sharing files doesn’t sell or charge for them
•Seizure and destruction of infringing files

Additionally the University may impose sanctions, including loss of network access and disciplinary action. This site outlines further information about these sanction or to learn how to avoid copyright infringement claims from music, movie, and software copyright holders.