Students, Staff & Faculty Warning on File Sharing from the RIAA

CSUMB, under direction of the Chancellor's Office complies with the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA's) effort to legally subpoena information about individuals who they believe to have engaged in unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted music and other works. The RIAA subpoenas are the first step toward filing lawsuits against students, faculty and staff and community members using OtterNET who violate the copyright laws. would like to remind students, staff and faculty that the unauthorized recording and sharing of peer-to-peer file copyrighted works, including music, pictures, and movies, is a violation of campus computer use policy. This practice is also illegal and may carry significant monetary and/or criminal sanctions and fines.  It is the responsibility of each individual user of OtterNet to be familiar with this policy and to make certain that they are not distributing copyrighted works, or that the sharer has the permission of the copyright holder.
The majority of the alleged violations are occurring in East Campus Housing and in dorms. It is your responsibility to make sure that all individuals using your Internet connection or computer are familiar with this policy. Please do not illegally share copyrighted works, and take precautions if you use a wireless router that your router is protected from unauthorized users.

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 Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

Legal Sources for Online Music and Videos

EDUCAUSE  maintains a list of free, legal sites with music and shows that can be legally enjoyed without the worry and risk related to copyright infringement.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires that we periodically review the legal alternatives for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material.

How to disable sharing on your P2P applications

The University of Chicago maintaints instructions on how to disable sharing for most P2P applications at