Copyright Policy

Chicago State University (CSU) respects copyrights. It is the policy of CSU to comply with copyright law. Using CSU's network to download or share copyrighted music, movies, television shows, games or any other copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner is a violation of CSU policies and may result in legal sanctions, judicial office penalties, and/or network termination, among other results.

CSU network or device users shall not store, distribute, or make unauthorized copies of copyrighted material on or using CSU computer systems, networks or storage media, including but not limited to copyrighted music, movies, games, software, literary works, artistic works or any other copyrighted materials.

You are responsible for file-sharing on your computer.

File sharing programs can transmit files on your computer to others in violation of copyright laws, with or without your knowledge. If these programs are on your computer, you will be responsible for any copyright violations that may result. To establish safe computer use practice, disable file sharing when you install these products. For example:

  • You are responsible for your own devices, within your control, and devices that violate copyright law when you login to and use the CSU network. Any device connecting to the CSU network is subject to CSU policy and must comply with all state and federal laws. Additionally, it is a violation to allow your user credentials to be used by anyone else, according to the personal computer usage policy PCOD Computer Usage Policy.
  • Even if you have legally purchased a copyright protected work, it is a violation of copyright law to distribute or make it available to others without the content owner’s permission.
  • File sharing may open your computer to hackers and identity thieves. If you choose to take these risks, you will be held accountable for the consequences, even if someone has broken into your computer.

Be aware, your personal information may be shared.

As indicated above, file sharing may open your computer to hackers and identity thieves. If you do not check the proper settings when you install certain file sharing software you could open access, not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, like email messages, photos, instant message logs, passwords, and pay pal or banking information that you store on your computer.

If you Violate Copyright Laws

While CSU does not generally monitor the content of your online activities, we may find that you have violated CSU policies and/or state and federal law during the normal course of network monitoring. Please note that many entities and organizations (for example, see the Recording Industry Association of America or RIAA for more information) locate people who are downloading or distributing copyrighted materials. If CSU receives notification from a copyright holder or their agent indicating that alleged copyrighted materials are being illegally distributed / downloaded from or to your computer or if CSU determines from network monitoring that you have violated university policies, at the very least, the following occurs:

  • The network connection for the device identified is disabled immediately.
  • You will be notified of the alleged violation.
  • You must disable the alleged violating software. If you live in a CSU Residence Hall, you must ask IT to disable it through the Residence Hall staff.
  • You must meet with the Office of Judicial Affairs and sign documentation acknowledging your understanding of CSU’s Computer Usage Policy (need link) and the Student Code of Conduct (need link). Faculty and Staff will meet with their immediate supervisor.
  • Other consequences for sharing materials in violation of copyright may include civil and/or criminal prosecution.

If you fail to contact the IT helpdesk within 7 days of being notified of a claim, or if the violation or notice is for a second or more offense, or if you do not comply with the e-mailed procedures.

  • Your login ID/login account may be disabled.
  • You may be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs (students).
  • You may lose all access to the CSU network for an extended period of time.

A first violation or notice may warrant the above actions under certain circumstances.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

  • Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. 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 attorney’s 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 ten years and fines of up to $250,000. For details, see Title 18, United States Code, Section 2319.

More Information

Applicable Laws

CSU Policies

Legal Downloads

Educause - legal sources of online content