As you may be aware, the use of computers to download and/or share music and movies has become a major technology and legal issue between Internet users and copyright owners such as recording artists and the motion picture industry. Most recently, Howard University received written communications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), an organization representing many recording industry copyright holders, alleging that Howard University “had a high incidence (604 ‘hits’) of alleged piracy in 2006.”
Please know that it is illegal to download copyrighted materials (including MP3 and other music and video files) from the Internet without permission of the person owning the copyright. The RIAA and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have become very aggressive with infringers about enforcing such copyrights. Under the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) instituted in 1998, the copyright owner may bring an action in court that may result in civil liability or even criminal prosecution.
It is very important that all members of the University Community understand that downloading or sharing of copyrighted music and movies on University equipment without permission of the copyright owner is not acceptable behavior and that the violator may be subject to disciplinary action in addition to possible adverse legal action.
Howard University has instituted new technologies to minimize the ability to illegitimately download copyrighted materials via its network. However, in view of the creative efforts of industry technologists to find ways to re-cast their products and environments to make them available for downloading, the University will continue to apply the most effective measures at its disposal to minimize its exposure. Among those measures, the University reserves the right to suspend the access privileges of offending individuals.