Please bear in mind when utilizing the RMC Network on your personal computers, that peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted motion pictures and sound recordings is not only illegal under the Copyright Act (1976), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (2000), and the No Electronic Theft Act (1997) but it is also a violation of the Acceptable Use Policy for Computer Resources, and therefore also a violation of the Student Conduct Code as found in Fishtales.   

As we do not wish you to face a violation of College policy, or incur possibly severe civil or criminal penalties please refrain from peer-to-peer downloading or uploading, and remove peer-to-peer file sharing programs from your computers.  The RMC Network has implemented firewall programs that prevent peer-to-peer file sharing in most instances.  The preventive measures have been effective to help you avoid the violation of this Policy.

Under the Copyright Act (1976) the online infringement of copyrighted music or motion pictures can be punished by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines, with a minimum of one year imprisonment and $25,000 in fines.  Individuals also may be held civilly liable, regardless of whether the activity is for profit, for actual damages or lost profits, or for statutory damages which range between $750 and $300,000 per infringed copyright. Once legal actions are started, the minimum reported settlement to keep the case from going to trial is $5,000 plus legal fees.  The No-Electronic Theft Act (1997) clarifies that copyright infringement can be criminally punished even if the infringer does not derive financial gain from the infringement, and it increased penalties: for infringers who seek financial gain, it raises the minimum term of imprisonment to 10 years, and for infringers who do not seek financial gain, it raises the maximum term to 6 years. Again, please note that uploading or downloading, even when you do not personally benefit commercially or financially from the infringement, is a Federal offense.

In 2007, a Minnesota woman accused of infringing 24 songs was ordered to pay $220,000 in statutory damages; however in 2009, when a new trial was granted at her request, she was again found in violation, and ordered to pay a staggering $1.92 million in statutory damages. In July 2009, a college student in the US was ordered to pay $675,000 in statutory damages for infringing 30 songs.

Most individuals that download peer to peer software are not fully aware that the software used to allow the transfer of these music and video files now opens their computers to others on the Internet to look for titles. Having a peer-to-peer file sharing program on your computer can easily result in sharing copyright works without even realizing it. Installing such software on your computer can cause you to unintentionally share files with other uses, for which you could face criminal and civil penalties. When the individual from off campus finds what they want on your computer, they then download it from your system through the RMC network to their computer. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) use the same method to find illegal downloads and then file infringement notifications prior to finally taking legal actions if the offending computer is not cleaned of software and illegal music. The movie industry is also taking aggressive actions to deter pirating or theft of copy righted materials.  We all need to be careful to avoid legal and monetary consequences from down loading and thus sharing illegal materials over the Internet or on the RMC Network. 

The Student Conduct Code lists “Misuse of a Communications Device” as a violation:

Misuse of a Communications Device – Use of a communication device (telephone, computer, emergency call box, smart phone, computer network, and any software which can be used therein, etc.) to commit any of the following, is prohibited: actions prohibited by federal, state or local laws or regulations, or the Student Conduct Code or college policy; disrupting the normal operations of the College;  harassing another member of the RMC community; actions which violate the “Unacceptable use of resources” policy found in the RMC Computer Resources Policies in The Student Handbook; on-line copyright infringement of video or audio recordings; actions prohibited under the Copyright Act (1976),the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (2000) or the No Electronic Theft Act (1997); violation of any Federal or state law regarding electronic harassment; and the production, sale, distribution or possession of images of child sexual abuse or extreme pornographic images (which include images depicting zoophilia, bestiality, necrophilia or acts likely to lead to injury or death).

To be clear, while Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs are not illegal, the overwhelming majority of the content moved across these programs is illegal. Because Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs continue to allow files to be downloaded from your computers, even when you are not actively using them, we prohibit student personal computers from operating Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs. These programs must be completely disabled or removed from personal computers used on campus, effective immediately.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and SafeNet Inc., as well as RMC Information and Technology Services can detect and block illegal downloading and identify those responsible. Those found responsible will be held judicially responsible with the College, and can be held civilly and criminally responsible by the owner and the Federal government.