Office of Campus Technology

Copyright Violations

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may be illegal and subject you to personal civil and criminal liabilities. This may include downloading, uploading or sharing of music, videos, games, software or books for which you do not have permission. Illegal sharing of copyright materials also violates UH policy E2.210: Use and Management of Information Technology Resources .

The University of Hawaiʻi encourages the use of legal alternatives to unauthorized downloading. EDUCAUSE has compiled an extensive list of such alternatives .

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, Chapter 5 .

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 , especially their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) .

UH Policies

It is the policy of the University of Hawaiʻi to investigate complaints of copyright violation filed in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The University uses the following procedures.

  • The infringing computer will be blocked immediately from accessing the University of Hawaiʻi’s network.
  • If the computer associated with the alleged violating activities can be linked to an individual or responsible authority, they will be notified that:
    • all unauthorized copies of any copyrighted materials must be removed immediately; and
    • the responsible individual must contact and meet with a Campus or UH Information Security representative, who will advise the infringing user that their actions may be illegal and may violate applicable UH Policies and codes of conduct, and that disciplinary action may be taken.
    • access will be restored after they personally sign and acknowledge the UH Copyright Infringement Notification Letter.
  • If the complaint is found to be a repeat offense, an official complaint will also be filed with the appropriate Dean and/or Director requesting disciplinary action and sanctions in accordance with University due process. This incident may appear on the individual's permanent University records.