Downloading or distributing copyrighted material for personal use or enter­tainment without explicit permission from the copyright owner is against the law...

File Sharing @ MSU

Additional Information

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is legislation enacted by the United States Congress in October 1998 that made major changes to the US Copyright Act. These changes were necessary in part to bring US copyright law into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also strengthened the legal protection of intellectual property rights in the wake of emerging new information communication technologies, i.e., the Internet.

The DMCA has five titles, or sections, with Title II having the most immediate impact on the MSU community. Title II outlines certain legal duties with which Online Service Providers (OSPs) must comply in order to limit their legal liabilities in the event a user of their service violates copyright laws. An OSP is defined as "an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications". For purposes of the DMCA, MSU is regarded as an OSP for users of the MSU information technology infrastructure.

The copyright owner can choose to either send complaints through the OSP for action, or serve legal notice to the infringer directly. Pleading a lack of knowledge about copyright infringement laws will not excuse the user from legal consequences. It is the user's responsibility to be aware of these legal consequences. For this reason, MSU strongly encourages users to educate themselves about the current state of copyright law as it applies to file sharing over the Internet, and to keep up to date on changes to copyright legislation.