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Computer Copyright Compliance

Make sure you comply with copyright infringement laws when you install software or download programs for your work or home computer.

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.

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.

Read Educational Technology Services (ETS) student account guidelines.

For more information about copyright issues, contact your DSA.
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