Illegal sharing of files or software puts you at risk of fines, disciplinary action, and even imprisonment.
The threat is real:
- Federal laws allow for fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment up to five years.
- In 1990, the University of Oregon paid $130,000 to settle a lawsuit with the Software Publishing Lawsuit after its employees were accused of making unauthorized copies of software programs.
- In 2003, four students at three universities paid settlements ranging from $12,000 to $17,000 after the Recording Industry Association of America sued them for using file-sharing software to make copyright-protected songs available for downloading.
Educational Technology Services (ETS) policy specifies copyright infringement as:
- The reproduction or distribution of copyrighted works, such as images, text, and software without permission from the owner
- Allowing illegal software copying on your home computer, then connecting that computer to the UC San Diego network, via dial-in, Web access, or on-campus network
What you can do to avoid copyright infringement:
- Buy software from an authorized dealer.
- Make sure you are given a license and that you understand and follow its terms.
- Keep the original disk, CD, or tape.
- Make a backup copy of your original, but do not share that copy with others unless the license allows sharing.
- Keep your proof of purchase and license agreement.
- Do not load a single licensed copy of software onto multiple computers.
- Do not install personal software at work, or work software at home.
- Do not use file-sharing programs, such as Kazaa, to distribute copyrighted work.
- If you believe that illegal software is installed on your work computer, contact your Department Security Administrator (DSA) immediately and ask to have it removed.
- Visit the ETS Website to legally download a business software and licenses.