Copyright Infringement and File Sharing
Copyright is a form of legal protection provided by United States law (Title 17 U.S. Code) that protects an owner's right to control the reproduction, distribution, performance, display and transmission of a copyrighted work. The original creator/producer of the work is the copyright owner. Merely possessing the material (such as owning a book) does not give someone the ownership of the copyright.
Any activity that violates these protections, such as downloading, copying, reproducing, and/or sharing copyrighted works without the owner's explicit permission, is in violation of United State law and is not an acceptable use of the Thomas More College network or resources.
It is the policy of Thomas More College to respect the intellectual property rights of others. If it comes to the attention of the College that an individual is using TMC resources, computer equipment and/or network access to violate copyright law, the College will take action to stop such activities.
Any copyright violations traced to students will be referred to the Dean of Students for implementation of the judicial process.
Any copyright violations traced to faculty or staff will be referred to the College's HR Department. Copyright violations for faculty and staff are treated as a breach of ethical and professional conduct and will be handled following established disciplinary procedures.
In addition, violations of copyright law can lead to criminal charges and civil penalties. Under current copyright law, criminal cases of copyright violation carry a penalty of up to five (5) years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Civil penalties for copyright infringement include a minimum fine of $750 for each work. While criminal prosecution for illegal downloading is rare, civil law suits are quite common.