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Digital Copyright, P2P, and File Sharing

Photo credit: Maxim Malevich

Do you want to use a digital image, song, or video, but aren't sure if it is copyright protected?  Do you use peer-to-peer file sharing software to download or share music and videos?  Have you received a notice telling you to remove copyrighted files because of alleged infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but you don’t know what that means?  These pages can help you get answers to these and similar questions about digital copyright, file sharing, DMCA notification procedures at Texas State, and what you should do to remain in compliance with copyright laws.  

Texas State’s Appropriate Use and Software Copyright policies prohibit the use of the Texas State network for the unauthorized duplication, use, or distribution of copyrighted digital materials, regardless of the method employed (e.g., web pages, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, email, etc.). You must have fair use rights or authorization from the copyright holder for any material you use, make available, or share over the campus network.  These and other university policies (see complete list below) demonstrate the University’s commitment to compliance with the requirements of various federal copyright laws and the associated legal responsibilities of the University in this regard.  

Please read on to learn more about Texas State’s position on unauthorized file sharing, copyright infringement notification processes, protocols followed by the University in addressing and deterring copyright infringement, and legal options for obtaining music and videos via the Internet.


Texas State Policies related to Copyright

  • UPPS 01.04.20 - Copyright Guidelines for Musical Performances on Campus
  • UPPS 01.04.21 - Copyright Guidelines for the Texas State Albert B. Alkek Library
  • UPPS 01.04.22 - Copyright Guidelines for Classroom Use and Research
  • UPPS 01.04.23 - Copyright Guidelines for Showing Movies on Campus
  • UPPS 01.04.24 - Policy on Copyrighted Computer Software
  • UPPS 04.01.07 - Appropriate Use of Information Resources

Copyright Law

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (October 1998)                                                                                      
       Full text of the Act located on file with the Library of Congress
  • Copyright Act of 1976, as Amended (1994)                                                                                               
       Located on file with the Cornell University Law School 

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Learn More about Copyright and File Sharing

  • Music United
       What the music industry says about copyright infringement.
  • Disabling Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
       Instructions for disabling a variety of P2P sharing programs from the University 
       of Chicago.  Note that if you have questions or need support related to these
       instructions, you should contact Texas State’s Information Technology Assistance
       Center (ITAC) at 512-245-ITAC (4822) or itac@txstate.edu, not the University of
       Chicago.

Legal Options for Enjoying Digital Music and Video

Visit the web sites of your favorite artists as many offer free downloads of their music.  Note, however, that while it’s OK for you to distribute the site links, it’s generally not OK to distribute or make the music itself available to others through your own site.

  • Important Note: Before signing up for any digital music or video service, carefully read the site’s
        privacy policy and/or terms of use statement to be sure that the  service is an authorized distribute the  
        material that it makes available to you. Both free and fee-based software may utilize unauthorized 
        distribution channels for copyrighted material, such as the Gnutella file sharing network. Buying a
        license to file sharing software does NOT necessarily give you legal access to the music it makes
        available, and it almost never allows you to further distribute that music. The following excerpt from
        Music, Etc.’s privacy policy is a good example of what to look for to determine if your fee does or does
        not include any rights to the music itself.
    • The Music, Etc.™ download system (the "Service") allows Music, Etc.™ members ("Members")
          to access and download content (including, without limitation, music files, movies, games,
          software and/or pictures) generally available for downloading over the Internet via the Gnutella
          Network
      (collectively, the "Download Content"), through use of our proprietary Download
          Software. Music, Etc. ™ provides the Service and associated Download Software only
          and is in no way involved in the provision of, and makes no representation as to the
          legality of, Download Content.
      The Service and Download Software are made available to our
          Members, subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

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