Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to work of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledge, the right to privacy, and the right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution. Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expressions of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violation of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, trade secret violations, and unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including but not limited to illegal downloading and unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, constitute violation of University policy and may result in progressive disciplinary sanctions, including but not limited to censure, probation, suspension, and dismissal.
Additionally, penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal liabilities. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damaged 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 up to $250,000 per offense.
For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office.
B. Software Installation
Aurora University policies restrict the software that may be installed on campus computers in order to ensure the appropriate use of AU equipment, protect the integrity of the local network, and maximize available resources.
1. Software shall not be installed on any AU equipment that has not been approved for installation by Information Technology Services. Faculty or staff who wish to install software on their office computers other than the standard applications provided by the university must submit a request in writing to the Information Technology Services department.
2. Instructional software will be installed by special request in the computer labs if it meets technical compatibility and licensing requirements.
3. As part of the regular inventory process Information Technology Services staff will perform a periodic audit of software installed on campus machines in order to assure compliance with all relevant policies. Unauthorized software will be subject to removal.
Aurora University’s Software Policy provides additionally that:
1. Only properly licensed software shall be installed on Aurora University computers. All software and data files stored on University-owned computer equipment must be consistent with the university’s Acceptable Use policy and must not introduce technical problems that interfere with the proper functioning of other programs. Additionally, all installed software must fall into one of the following categories:
- It is in the public domain.
- It is covered by a licensing agreement with the software author, authors, vendor or developer, whichever is applicable.
- It has been donated to the University by the author, authors, vendor or developer and a written record of the contribution is on file in the office of the CIO with Information Technology Services.
- It has been purchased by the University and a record of that purchase is on file in the office of Information Technology Services.
- It has been purchased by the user, approved for installation by Information Technology Services, and a record of that purchase exists and can be produced by the user upon demand.
- It is a demonstration version of the software being reviewed by the user in order to reach a decision about possible future purchase or request for contribution or licensing.
- It has been written or developed by a current employee of Aurora University for the specific purpose of being used in conjunction with their contracted responsibility at the University.
2. Software shall not be used on Aurora University computers or computer equipment in such a way as to be deemed inconsistent with the applicable copyright laws or licensing agreements. Aurora University computers or computer systems shall not be used for copying, storing, or transferring to others copyrighted or proprietary files, including multimedia and other data files as well as applications.
3. Peer-to-peer file sharing applications shall not be used on University-owned computers or on the campus network except as necessary for use in conjunction with the user’s job responsibility and with the knowledge and approval of Information Technology Services.
4. When software is to be installed on a disk sharing system or computer network, efforts will be made to secure this software from being illegally copied.
5. Archival or backup copies of application or data files may be made only as specified by applicable license agreements.
6. The legal or insurance protection of Aurora University will not extend to University employees who violate United States copyright laws or specific conditions of applicable software agreements.