Copyright & Peer File Sharing

Copyright Overview

The purpose of Copyright is to balance the rights of authors with the rights of the public to use the work without seeking permission or paying royalties. Under copyright, authors have the right to control the use of their work subject to exceptions permitted under the law. If the use exceeds such exceptions, then infringing on someone’s copyright can result in the infringer being civilly liable and/or criminally liable. To further understand your rights and responsibilities under the copyright law, please click the following link:

Copyright Infringement Penalties

Copyright infringement is the act of violating any of a copyright owner’s exclusive rights granted by the federal Copyright Act. The three elements that must be in place in order for the infringement to occur are:

  1. The copyright holder must have a valid copyright.
  2. The person who is allegedly infringing must have access to the copyrighted work.
  3. The duplication of the copyrighted work must be outside the exceptions.


Consequences of Violating the Copyright Law

  1. Disciplinary Action by MMI:
    Copyright infringement can subject a student to disciplinary action, since violation of law or College policy is grounds for discipline. First offenses will result in a notice from Information Technology Services to cease illegal activity. Failure to comply or further incidents of infringement may result in referral to the Dean’s Office and loss of network access for the infringing computer. Sanctions may include suspension of network access and formal college disciplinary action.
  2. Legal Action:
    Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
    The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each item infringed.
    Infringer pays for all attorneys’ fees and court costs.
    The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
    The court can impound the illegal works.
    The infringer can go to jail.

For more information on copyright laws click here:



Marion Military Institute maintains a campus network to further the goals of the college. The college is required by Federal Law – Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) – to make an annual disclosure informing students that illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may lead to civil and/or criminal penalties. The act also requires MMI to take steps to detect and punish users who illegally distribute copyrighted materials. The HEOA also requires the college to provide alternatives to illegal file sharing.

Although the HEOA makes reference only to students using Peer-to-Peer, this policy applies to all Marion Military Institute network users. MMI reserves the right to suspend or terminate network access to any campus user if the violation is deemed severe. Likewise, network access may be suspended if any use is effecting the operations of the network. Any violations may be reported to appropriate authorities for criminal or civil prosecution.


Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

MMI currently uses bandwidth management technology to prioritize network traffic. We limit the amount of bandwidth available to P2P application but we do not filter these applications since much of the traffic is legal.


Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) both provide a list of legal alternatives to illegal P2P on their websites. For more information on legal alternatives, please visit the Educause Website:


The information contained on this site should not be considered legal advice.
Individuals should consult their own attorneys.