Peer-to-Peer Distribution of Intellectual Property

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), Northland Pioneer College is hereby providing this annual disclosure of information related to the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials through illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property.

College users are reminded that federal copyright laws apply to many forms of intellectual property including copyrighted music and videos. This warning applies to printed and digital materials. Users must not engage in illegal music, video, or movie downloads. When it is determined that a user is suspected of distributing copyrighted materials without proper authorization, NPC’s Information Services division will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances and may then refer the matter to the appropriate vice president for action.

It should be noted that DMCA notices that come from outside the college are based on investigations that have already been conducted. Federal and state officials have the authority to prosecute offenders based on the evidence they possess relative to the incident. The jurisdiction of such officials supersedes that of any Northland Pioneer College disciplinary action.

The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities.

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, especially their FAQ’s.

NPC has additional information resources available on our website: