Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions and P2P File Sharing Policy

Notice to Students: Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions

Copyright Infringement & Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy and Sanctions

GIA does not allow or condone the use of GIA resources for the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing. Engaging in such unauthorized activity will result in disciplinary action by GIA including but not limited to dismissal from GIA programs and courses as described in the GIA Education Catalog. Such activity may also subject students to civil and criminal liabilities.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at

Alternatives to Illegal Downloading

There are many alternatives to the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. For a list of legitimate online services that are approved by the AAP, MPAA, and RIAA please see the EDUCAUSE list available at