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Campus Technology

Copyright FAQ

Copyright and Legal Issues

Consequences for share digital content without permission can be very stiff and severe.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, or DMCA, establishes definition of protection for digital content and provides recourse for infringement  of copyright.

What is the DMCA and what does it cover?

To read up on the DMCA, please see Wikipedia’s page.  It’s pretty comprehensive.

Is it okay to share music within the Montreat Community?

No, unless the owner of the rights to that music gives you permission to share it.  Students at other colleges have been sued for sharing music in college communities.

Will Montreat College protect my identity from outside entities?

Montreat College will release your identity only under the direction of a subpoena.

Is it okay to stream music through iTunes?

Generally, no.  Music that you purchase through the iTunes music store may be legally streamed through iTunes, but music that you obtain from other legal sources most likely does not include the rights to stream the content over a network, and so this streaming would constitute a violation of the DMCA.

Is it okay to use a file sharing service to download content even if I don’t upload it?

No, not without a license from the copyright holder. Downloading is no less legal than uploading.  This applies to all digital content. File sharing software often will upload content without your knowledge by default.  Furthermore, file sharing software can be  a portal for malware to corrupt your computer system.

Is it okay to copy music from a CD I purchase into my computer or to copy a video from a DVD I purchase onto my computer?

No.  It’s illegal, and punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 fine for first offense under federal law.

Is it okay to copy content that I purchase online onto my personal media player?

No, unless explicitly authorized. For example, if the song is purchased through the iTunes music store, in which case the device must be an Apple authorized device, and in which case the music or content that you have purchased includes a license to share it on authorized devices.

Is it okay to share songs or movies between friends using a portable drive to copy them?  Or between family members?

No, that’s not legal either. See above for typical exceptions.

Isn’t content shared on a college campus covered by fair use laws?

Not generally. Exceptions include use by faculty in educational settings and allows for distribution of a non-commercially-viable excerpt only, or degraded content that is not commercially viable.