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Copyright Infringement

Read the Open Letter on Illegal File Sharing from Chancellor Oblinger (3/14/07)

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. Unauthorized sharing of copyrighted materials is a matter that is taken very seriously at NC State University. Both students and employees should make themselves familiar with the risks involved.

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 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.

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

More information can be found online at


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