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Copyright information and resources for NEOMED faculty, staff, & students.

I'm a student. Do I need to worry about copyright law?


Students of the university must follow and abide by United States copyright laws.  Distributing copyrighted material, which includes movies, music, and software, to others could constitute an infringement of these laws.  Students must be aware of the terms of use when reproducing or printing materials from the library, especially digital resources. It is the student’s responsibility to verify that he or she is reproducing material in a legitimate way.  

The NEOMED student honor code states that students shall not:

  • violate Federal or State laws, the rules and regulations of the college, associated hospitals, consortium universities, other affiliated medical institutions or other applicable guidelines either stated or published. (Principle 11).

For further information on copyright, see General Copyright Information.

Disciplinary Action for Copyright Infringement

Please see the University’s Administrative Policy on File Sharing. Students will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, for violating copyright laws.

Legal Alternatives to Copyright Infringement

Educause has a large directory of websites with legal sources for online content, including music, movies, and textbooks.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

The Higher Education and Opportunity Act (HEOA) mandates that universities and colleges educate and provide information about copyright and copyright infringement to their students, especially in regards to peer-to-peer file sharing.

Peer-to-peer file sharing programs are not illegal, but often they are used for illegally distributing and reproducing copyrighted materials, which include movies, music, and software.  Peer-to-Peer Networks are BitTorrent (and other torrent engines), Gnutella, LimeWire, Kazaa, BearShare, iMesh, Soulseek, Vuze, and Morpheus. Students actively engaging in or allowing others to access and download copyrighted material are likely committing copyright infringement, which has legal ramifications.

The following is the Department of Education’s summary of civil and criminal penalties for violation of federal copyright laws.

“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, Sections 504, 505.

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 at, especially the FAQ section at”

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