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Cybersecurity Awareness Alert: illegal file sharing & copyright infringement

DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) violations by faculty, staff and students are up significantly. The DMCA protects the rights of owners of copyrighted materials such as music, movies, TV shows and computer software. Except insofar as you are complying with Fair Use (see below), if you use software or websites to download or upload copyrighted works without permission or payment, then you are breaking the law.

Legal, Civil and Administrative Penalties: Copyright infringement can result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense, and fines of up to $150,000 may apply for each separate willful infringement.

In addition, UC San Diego may also take administrative action against those who commit copyright infringement, including loss of networking privileges, or disciplinary action including job termination for faculty and staff, and suspension for students.

Additional risks include the inadvertent downloading of viruses, malware, spyware and ransomware. Many Internet sites that contain copyrighted material for the purpose of illegal downloads serve ads that infect computers with malware, ransomware and other ‘Potentially Unwanted Programs’ designed to deceive or defraud unwitting viewers. In addition, the content itself could be packaged with malicious software that could damage your computer and potentially infect other computers at UC San Diego.

What to do:

  • Consult the Library’s Copyright Policy page for guidance on what constitutes Fair Use.
  • Use services that provide legitimate access to copyrighted material.
  • Do not download copyrighted material for which you do not have permission.
  • Make sure your computer has virus protection and anti-malware software installed and updated.

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