Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions

Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions (Including Computer Use and File Sharing)

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.

All ACHE and ARCOM employees and students must respect and comply with the rules on copyrights and applicable College Policies and applicable State and Federal Laws. Among the more important laws are the Federal Computer Abuse Amendment Act 1994, the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the U.S. Copyright Act.

Potential Civil and Criminal Sanctions for Copyright Infringement:

  • 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 website of the U.S. Copyright Office at (

Policy Violations

Inappropriate conduct and violations of policy violations will be addressed by the appropriate procedures and agents (e.g., the Office of the Dean, the Office of the Vice President, Academic Affairs, or the Office of Human Resources) depending on the individual’s affiliation to the University.

In cases where a user violates any of the terms of the ARCOM Student Handbook policy, the University/College may, in addition to other remedies, temporarily or permanently deny access to any and all ACHE/ARCOM computing resources, and appropriate disciplinary actions may be taken, up to and including dismissal.