I’ve received a DMCA Copyright violation complaint notice. What are my next steps?
This is a notice sent by the copyright owner or an agent of the copyright holder to the University to notify us about a specific copyright violation that has been detected on Campus. The notice will include details regarding the time and date of the offense as well as the infringed work and the IP address of the computer associated with the offense.
If you are a student and have received a notice, follow these instructions.
If you an employee and have received a notice, follow these instructions.
I was notified that my computer is sharing copyright materials but I am not aware that I had them on my system. How can this be?
In the unlikely event that you may have a virus/malware on your computer, it could have downloaded or shared copyrighted material. Even if a malware/virus was the primary cause for the distribution of copyrighted material, you are still responsible for the network activity that is conducted under your wireless account. Please see these tips on how to protect your device from malware/viruses.
If my computer is found to have copyrighted materials, what steps can the copyright holder take against me?
Copyright owners can file civil suits to recover damages and costs. These costs can be as much as $30,000 or up to $150,000, for willful infringement. In certain cases of willful infringement, the government can file criminal charges which can result in fines and imprisonment.
Is it legal to download copyrighted material on my computer?
Yes, if you’ve paid for the material through a reputable source. Digital media such as music, movies, books, games, and applications can be purchased through various marketplaces such as iTunes, Amazon, Steam, or Google Play. A number of these platforms, such as iTunes, will allow you to download the file to your computer.
I heard that downloading a 'cracked' program can give my computer a virus. Is this true?
It is not uncommon for ‘cracked’ programs to be bundled with malware or viruses. You should always be cautious when installing software from an untrusted source (i.e. websites that advertise applications as 'cracked'). If you are a VCU student, faculty, or staff member, VCU offers software from major vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, and VMWare for free or for a low cost through On the Hub.
I don’t have the money to pay for this piece of software, so I found it for free online. What are the risks of downloading it?
You should always be cautious when downloading a file or application from an untrusted source. These ‘free’ versions or 'cracked' versions of the software can contain viruses or malware that can affect your computer.
As a student, faculty, or staff some software is offered for free or for a significant discount while you are a student or employed at the University. You can find this software at VCU’s On the Hub.
Are they legal alternatives that are approved for sharing digital music and movies?