Copyright Infringement Affects You
Copying the works of others, even if you credit your sources, may constitute copyright infringement
Potential consequences of copyright infringement, especially if it is repeated, include:
- Legal action by the copyright holder resulting in “actual” or “statutory” damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 per infringement.
- For “willful” infringement, court awards of $150,000 per work infringed as well as criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
- Court costs and attorney fees.
- Disciplinary action by the university and the loss of computer access to your NC State email, online classes, and licensed library resources.
Knowing the Facts
- Copyright is automatic. An original work is fully protected as soon as it is recorded in a tangible medium of expression (e.g., letter, picture, video, website). It does not need to be registered or published or have a copyright notice.
- Copyright holders possess the exclusive rights to reproduce, modify, distribute, perform, or display their works. There are some exceptions, especially those favoring educational and news reporting uses.
- If there is a favorable exception, you may be able to use a work without obtaining prior permission. For example, works published in the United States before 1923 may be used freely.
- Use of a copyrighted work without permission or applicable exception is infringement.
- It is your responsibility to understand enough about university policies and copyright law to make responsible, defensible decisions. Being uninformed about laws and policies will not get you off the hook.
- In this issue: Articles on downloading and notification
- Computing Rules and Regulations: http://go.ncsu.edu/student-use
- Provost Office – Copyright Administration: http://go.ncsu.edu/provost-copyright, tutorials, worksheets, sample permission letters, and more
- Office of General Counsel - Shawn C. Troxler: http://go.ncsu.edu/intel-prop, basic copyright information
- Student Legal Services: http://go.ncsu.edu/student-legal
- U.S. Copyright Office and FAQ: http://www.copyright.gov, http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq