The University of Delaware's copyright guidelines


To facilitate the exchange of scholarly information, the University of Delaware does not restrict or filter network traffic. However, the University also respects copyright laws and will cooperate with copyright holders to identify individuals who share copyrighted materials. Downloading and distributing copies of copyrighted songs, movies, software, or other protected works without permission from the copyright owner or agent is illegal, and it is a violation of the University's Policy for Responsible Computing.

To allow students, faculty, and staff to access copyrighted digital media while still adhering to copyright laws and University policies, the University has compiled a list of legal sources for digital media.


FAQs about copyright infringement

I received a copyright violation notice from UD IT Security. Why? What happens next?

The University takes a strong stand against unlawful distribution of copyrighted music, movies, and software. While the University does not routinely monitor Internet activity, if you download or share copyrighted works over the Internet, your activity can be seen by the copyright owners. If the University receives notification of claimed infringement from a copyright owner or agent about your Internet activity, Federal law requires that the University take action. You are responsible for the activity associated with your IP address. Whether you are aware of the violation or not, the following procedure will occur:

  1. You will receive a Copyright Violation Notice with infringement specifics sent to your University email account;
  2. Your UD network access will be disabled;
  3. You must remove or disable access to the unauthorized material;
  4. You must complete the Copyright Education course; and
  5. Your UD network access will be restored after you pass a quiz and remove or disable access to the unauthorized material.

Future incidents of alleged copyright infringement will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.


But I didn't do anything! Why did I receive a notice?

If you have peer-to-peer (P2P) applications installed on your computer, you are at risk for being sued by the copyright owner. Even if you have never downloaded music or movies here on campus, or think you have turned off file sharing or the P2P application itself, simply having P2P applications makes you vulnerable. P2P applications can be running in the background, searching your entire computer for media files to share out to the world--without your knowledge. It is very difficult, if not impossible in some instances, to configure P2P applications to not share your legal music or movie collection, or even the contents of your hard drive, including your personal banking information and other files. You can read more about P2P applications that share too much.

The best advice is to completely delete P2P applications from your computer. If you must use a P2P application to share content (e.g., personal photos, vides, or creative works in the public domain), do so carefully so that copyrighted files on your computer are not shared out to others. Some instructions are available, but the only recommended action is to delete P2P applications from your computer.

If you feel the notification of claimed infringement is in error, you have the right under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (see p. 159) to file a counter notification with the University of Delaware's designated agent for copyright infringement notification.


You mean someone saw my computer sharing copyrighted material on the Internet and reported it to the University? Is this legal? What else can they do?

Since 2004, the motion picture and recording industries have been suing those found to infringe on their copyrights via P2P networks (e.g., Limewire, BitTorrent, etc.). Violators can be liable for fines ranging from $750–$30,000 per file—$150,000 plus imprisonment if the infringement is willful. If the University receives a subpoena seeking your identity because the IP address used by your computer or network device (e.g., wireless router) is seen infringing on copyrights, the law requires your identity be disclosed to the courts.

Some copyright owners are now sending settlement offers to suspected violators via the violators' colleges and universities. These letters offer alleged copyright infringers an opportunity to settle without further litigation. The letters advise that the copyright owner is prepared to file a lawsuit against the user claiming that it has evidence that the user was infringing on their member's copyrights.

The University will forward these settlement letters to the students in question. Those users receiving such letters should consult with their own attorney. The University will not be responsible for providing legal advice.


A friend set up my P2P application and told me it would not share. How could these claims be true?

P2P applications can expose your personal information or share copyrighted files you never intended to share out to the world without your knowledge--more than you bargained for. They can put you at risk for copyright infringement even if you think you have configured them to limit sharing. Hackers can plant infectious software to take control of your computer to attack others.

It is important to educate yourself and exercise caution. Many P2P applications hide the fact that they are designed to aggressively share everything on your hard drive and make it hard--if not impossible--to limit sharing. Remember, you are responsible for managing your PC--including security.

It doesn't matter that you don't realize that file sharing is set to 'ON' in your P2P application, hackers exploited a hole in the security of your computer, or that you set up an open-access wireless router in your room--you will be held accountable for the network activity attributed to your registered equipment whether you have knowledge of it or not.

We recommend that all users educate themselves about the basic steps to secure their PCs and consciously choose to be a good citizen in cyberspace.


Copyright resources