If I go to a web site that offers “free” downloads, how do I know it
is a legal download site?
The web addresses for several legitimate sites offering free downloads are provided on the downloading Web page for you to evaluate and use. It is best to assume that downloads offered on a “free” site could be illegal. Free download and peer-sharing sites are not to be confused with website promotional offers where you receive a specific amount of “free” downloads when you meet the requirements of the promotion. It is always advisable to research any free download site to find out if downloads offered are legal. Most legitimate download sites require a fee per download.
Can I purchase a single license of a software package and load it on several computers?
When you buy software, you are buying a license to use the software. These licenses may be for a single use on a single computer or a multi use license for multiple computers. You do not own the software, only the right to use it. If you purchase one copy, it is only legal for you to install and use one copy on one machine. Multiple installations from the same disk(s) are illegal unless you have purchased a multiple-user license.
Loading software on multiple computers using a single license is known as "soft lifting", which is in violation of the license agreement. This includes sharing software with friends and co-workers or installing software on home/laptop computers if not allowed by the license. A good rule of thumb is one software package per computer, unless the terms of the license agreement allow for multiple use of the program.
What is file sharing?
File sharing is a means of acquiring a file, in this instance a song or songs, typically by using a peer-to-peer network. Peer-to-peer networks like LimeWire, eDonkey or Gnutella, distribute file-sharing software which allows users access to search millions of other network users computers for the files they are looking for. To the extent that a file sharing network deprives the copyright holder of payment for their works it allows copyright infringement. Peer-to-peer networks have also proven to be an easy way to infect your computer with a virus.
Otherwise, the law says that anyone who purchases a copy of software has the right to load that copy onto a single computer and to make another copy "for archival purposes only".
What is Copyright?
“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
• To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
• To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
• To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
• To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
• To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
• In the case of sound recordings,* to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
In addition, certain authors of works of visual art have the rights of attribution and integrity as described in section 106A of the 1976 Copyright Act. For further information, see Circular 40, Copyright Registration for Works of the Visual Arts.” Retrieved and copied from http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf Please visit above Web page for further information.
What can be copyrighted?
According to the U.S. Copyright office http://www.copyright.gov/:
(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.
(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
What is copyright infringement?
Examples of copyright infringement include outright plagiarism of a poem or article, use of all or a portion of a song or lyric, and duplication of a protected image. Copyright infringement is any unauthorized use of a copyrighted work not to include fair use (see below). The holder of the copyright may file a law suit to stop the infringement and may also sue for damages for loss of revenue due to the infringement.
What is Fair Use?
Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
It should be noted that the distinction between fair use and infringement is not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.
What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and how does it affect me?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became a law in 1998 as an amendment to Title 17 and added provisions to U.S. Copyright Law. This act makes it illegal to circumvent anti-piracy measures that are in place in most commercial software.
Can the University find out if I am downloading material illegally?
Yes. The University has mechanisms in place for the reporting and discovery of illegal use of its computing resources, and has the ability to trace the illegal use to specific individuals and computers.
What will happen to a student if APSU becomes aware of illegal downloading?
Violation of APSU’s policy prohibiting illegal downloading may result in the termination of an infringer’s ability to utilize computers and computer resources located on the University’s campus. This includes University Ethernet and wireless access for personally owned computers as well. Other disciplinary actions may also be taken.
Below are links to applicable policies, laws and other resources related to illegal downloading and copyright issues:
APSU Student Code of Conduct:
APSU Policies on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources:
Tennessee Code 49-7-142 pertaining to Policy and deterrents to copyright infringement
Government Copyright Law:
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA):
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA):
Welcome to The Publishing Law Center:
International Copyright Relations of the United States