Welcome to Farmingdale State College’s Policy Library. This library is the official repository for all institutional policies and procedures and is intended to be a resource for faculty, staff and students seeking information related to the policies that govern the institution. This library does not contain department-specific policies and procedures. Please contact the department for specific departmental policies and procedures.
Please direct all questions regarding policy content to the Responsible Office listed on the respective policy.
Guidelines for the use of Digital Material
Faculty, Staff, Students
How closely is the network monitored?
Farmingdale State College system administrators do not routinely monitor our network for illegal activity, but they must respond to formal legal complaints they receive.
Organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) frequently watch file-sharing programs for copyrighted material belonging to the artists they represent. Under the DMCA, the College has responded to several RIAA complaints of copyright violations for sharing music from student computers on the the College’s network. In addition to civil action, local campus disciplinary action may be taken against offenders.
Some people are under the impression that their activity on the Internet is largely anonymous or untraceable, but this is untrue. In fact, almost all your activity on the Internet is logged on many of the computer systems you use, and while these logs usually are not inspected, they can be used to confirm or implicate you in illegal activity.
What will happen if I get caught?
If a complaint of copyright infringement is made against you, your Internet connection will be disconnected and you will be notified immediately. If, after investigation, the allegations against you appear to be true, you must delete the offending software and copyrighted material before your Internet connection will be reconnected. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action being taken by the college.
Which activities are violations?
Violations include copying and sharing most MP3s, images, movies, or other copyrighted material by using “peer to peer” programs like KaZaA, DC++, LimeWire, BearShare, and Morpheus. Setting up file shares with copyrighted material and unauthorized downloading of anything which you don’t already own a copy (software, MP3s, movies, etc.) are also violations
Guidelines for the use of Digital Material:
Music, Video, Pictures, Software and Games – How the laws apply to students, faculty, and staff
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”), which addresses copyright issues regarding digital materials, was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. One of the provisions of the DMCA is to limit the liability of educational institutions for damages due to copyright infringement by members of their community. The College complies with all DMCA’s requirements and requires that:
- all members of the College community must follow the College’s Copyright Guidelines for digital material
- all members of the College community must adhere to the College’s Acceptable Use Policy
Are MP3s illegal?
Some music files can be legally obtained through online subscription services or from sites officially permitted by the copyright holders to offer certain downloads. Some are copyright free. Most music files do not fall into either of these two categories.
The most common type for music file is the MP3 format. MP3s are legal if have obtained the rights to possess. Otherwise, MP3s are illegal. In most cases, sharing music files (over the campus network) is also illegal.
Copyright laws allow you to create MP3s only for your personal use and only of songs to which you already have rights. You can make MP3s only of songs for which you already own the CD or tape, known as a “transfer of copy.” And personal use means for you alone – you can’t make copies and give or sell them to other people.
Individuals sued for copyright infringement often state that they did not intend to share the material. When it comes to the copyright law, there is a strict liability tort, and there does not have to be intent.
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The Perils of P2P
Using a computer to copy or store any copyrighted material (text, images, music, movies, computer programs, etc.) is a violation of state and federal law. Doing so leaves you liable, on conviction, to heavy fines (for each infringed work in amounts that typically range from a minimum of $750 for each work to a maximum of $30,000 per work) and/or possibly imprisonment. In 2003, the Recording Industry Association (RIAA) targeted music traders and focused on college students in particular. The RIAA began filing civil suits seeking compensation for damages of up to $150,000 per offense; four broadly publicized cases wound up costing the students involved $12,000-$17,000 each in damages. In April 2005, the industry sued 405 computer users at 18 colleges, accusing the defendants of sharing songs on i2hub, a student-run file-sharing system. In 2007, over 30 Morrisville State College (SUNY) students were served with prelitigation settlement letters. Most students ended up settling with the RIAA for thousands of dollars, making it impossible for some students to return to school. Students can’t afford these sorts of damages, and colleges can’t afford to have their networks compromised or threatened by illegal actions. Illegal file sharing activities put both the college and its students at risk.
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