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Copyright - It's The Law

Southeast Missouri State University respects the rights of copyright holders and copyright laws, and expects its faculty, staff, and students to do so as well. In this electronic age, copyrighted works can easily be misused and widely distributed, even without intentionally doing so. It is the responsibility of the University community to make a good faith effort to comply with United States Copyright Law and related University policies.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires the University to actively address the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the campus network. Southeast complies with the requirements of the HEOA.

Acceptable Use of University Resources

When you activated your Southeast Key, you agreed to abide by the Information Technology and Network Systems Acceptable Use Policy and Procedures. In particular, you agreed to comply with local, state, and federal laws, and adhere to all University policies and procedures, such as those governing intellectual property. The procedures specifically prohibit the use of University computer resources to infringe the intellectual property rights of others. The unauthorized use of peer-to-peer file sharing to distribute copyrighted music or videos is considered a violation of the Acceptable Use Policy. In addition, such activity is illegal and may expose you to civil and criminal liabilities.

Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

A person found guilty of violating copyright law may be liable for damages and lost profits relating to the violation. In addition, criminal penalties of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine are possible.

Policies with Respect to Unauthorized Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Including Illegal Downloading or Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Materials

Violation of the Acceptable Use Policy may result in a denial of access to University computer resources. Moreover, Article 18 of the Code of Student Conduct addresses violations of published University policies, rules or regulations and Article 21 addresses violations of federal, state or local law. With violations of the Code there are a range of sanctions that are employed, including fines, community service, restitution, probation, suspension, and expulsion.

Sources of Legal Alternatives for Downloading Music and Video

A wide variety of information can be located and accessed via the Internet. Unless you know that the copyright owner has given explicit permission for you to use, copy or share the material, your safest course of action is to avoid downloading it.

Many legal alternatives for downloading both music and video are available on the Internet, both free and for purchase. A large list is maintained by Educause.


IT Help Desk

(573) 651-4357
Memorial Hall 107

IT Office

(573) 651-2217
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701