Federal copyright law applies to all forms of information, including electronic communications. Members of the College community should be aware that copyright infringement includes the unauthorized copying, displaying, and/or distributing of copyrighted material. All such works, including those available electronically, should be considered protected by copyright law unless specifically stated otherwise.
Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission of 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 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, Untied States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines up to $250,000 per offense.
For more information, please see the Copyright Resources below.