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Open letter from Chancellor James Oblinger: Liability for illegal file sharing 

What is copyright?
Copyright is a legal right to control the copying, distribution, modification, display, and performance of certain types of works. It applies to text, graphics, video, audio, and many other forms of expression.

How can I use copyrighted material?
In general, you must have permission from the copyright holder to copy, distribute, modify, display or perform their work. There are few legal ways you can use copyrighted material in these ways without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder.

How does the university handle infringement complaints relating to the use of copyrighted material for official university business?
NC State University has the twin objectives of minimizing liability while also providing legal support for the activities of faculty and staff.

How does the university handle infringement complaints regarding my personal use of copyrighted materials?
The university follows official takedown and notification procedures as established by federal law.

What are NC State's policies regarding electronic copyright infringement?
NC State will terminate the computer accounts of repeat infringers. Other disciplinary actions may also be taken.

How is peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing software related to copyright infringement?
Although peer-to-peer file sharing programs are not illegal, they may be used for the illegal downloading and distribution of copyrighted materials such as music, movies and software. Uploading or downloading copyrighted material without permission can be infringement, whether it’s done by p2p software or other means.

What risks am I taking by using peer-to-peer file sharing software?
Among others: (1) Students, faculty and staff may be criminally prosecuted and subject to civil litigation if it is used to infringe copyright. (2) Students may be suspended or expelled from school, and faculty and staff may be dismissed from their jobs. (3) Using file sharing applications exposes your computer to viruses that may cause irretrievable loss of data. (4) Your personal and/or confidential information may be inadvertently shared across the Internet.

How can I lawfully download copyrighted material?
The Joint Committee of the Higher Education and Entertainment Communities has been examining the current marketplace for legal acquisition of music and movies via the internet.  This committee circulated a Request for Information in order to develop a list of the legal service offerings that are currently operating.

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?
Title II of the DMCA limits the liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from copyright infringement by their customers, provided that certain provisions are met.

How do I report a copyright violation?
Copyright violation complaints must be reported to the designated university agent.

What do I do if someone violates my copyright?
Students and staff should seek private legal counsel if they believe their copyright has been infringed upon. Infringements of copyrights owned by NC State should be reported to the Office of Legal Affairs.

Other important copyright information may be obtained from:

Industry-specific Internet anti-piracy information: