Illegal File Sharing and Downloading at UNCW and the DMCA

In October 1998, with the support of the Clinton administration, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The intent of the DMCA is to retrain and eliminate illegal downloads and file sharing – piracy of proprietary content.

The most significant provisions of the DMCA:

P2P file sharing and illegal downloading occur in the university environment since the institutions are generally providing users significant bandwidth distribution for research and scholarship.  Because the DMCA requires copyright holders to notify UNCW if a student user has illegally downloaded content, students who utilize their computing privileges to misuse the bandwidth provided for illegal downloads and file sharing will face:

Sharing and/or downloading copyrighted music, videos, and film is both illegal and against UNCW policy.  It is critical that students understand the that the implications of illegal file sharing and downloading are severe, and that they refrain from such activity. The recording and motion picture industries have adopted an increasingly aggressive position in finding and prosecuting individual infringers, particularly in the university setting, for the sole purpose of making an example of impermissible uses and deterring other infringing activities.

A highly recommended alternative is for student users to subscribe to a legal downloading service so they can legally and permissibly download digital media and keep themselves safe from prosecution and/or revocation of their Internet & Computing privileges. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) lists many of their approved music downloading services at the following Web site:

DMCA Procedures:

UNCW has the following procedures in place to deal with students who are in violation of applicable copyright laws:

UNCW expects all users of its system to comply with applicable copyright laws. For more information on our copyright stance, go to:

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