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Copyright Law and ONU Policy

Copyright Law and Campus Policies

Copyright Law and Policies regarding illegal Peer-to-Peer file sharing.This includes sharing of copyright protected music and videos.

U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code) is a federal law that is intended to promote the arts and the sciences. It does this by providing authors of original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works the ability to control how their work is used by others. The copyright law gives the author exclusive right to:

  • Copy their works
  • Prepare derivatives or revisions of their works
  • Distribute or publish their works
  • And Perform or display their works in public.
  • The copyright protection is granted for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years.
  • The author may transfer ownership of copyright to others such as a publisher and in this case the publisher has the exclusive rights to copy, publish and distribute.

Students must be aware of the Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws:

  • Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
  • Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, 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 attorneys' 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 five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
  • For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

Ohio Northern University supports all Federal Copyright Laws. Students using any campus resource, including the campus data network are required to follow this law.

  • The ONU Computer Use Policy and Student Handbook (Appendix N:) “Users may not make available copyrighted material without the authorization from the owner or owner’s designated representative”.

Students found in violation of the ONU Policy are subject to disciplinary action (Student Handbook Appendix B:) “Disciplinary Procedure for non-academic violations”.

Section 1: “Student Discipline Coordinator (SDC) receives and processes all complaints alleging a non-academic violation of the Student Code of Conduct”.


            -The University reserves the right to suspend access to anyone, to preserve the integrity of the network.