Copyright Law Copyright is a form of legal protection provided by U.S. law, Title 17 U.S.C. §512(c) (2), which protects an owner’s right to control the reproduction, distribution, performance, display and transmission of a copyrighted work. The public, in turn, is provided with specific rights for fair use of copyrighted works. Copyrighted works protect original works of authorship and include:
  • Books, articles and other writings Songs and other musical works Movies and television productions Pictures, graphics and drawings Computer software Pantomimes and choreographic works Sculptural and architectural works
Specific information on copyright law and fair use may be found at the following sites: Copyright Infringement The copyright law provides the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to do the following:
  • Reproduce the work in copies. Prepare derivative works based upon the work. Distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending. Perform the work publicly. Display the copyrighted work publicly. Perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission in the case of sound recordings.
The copyright law states, “Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author.” Generally, under the law, one who engages in any of these activities without obtaining the copyright owner’s permission may be liable for infringement. Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing is a general term that describes software programs that allow computer users, utilizing the same P2P software, to connect with each other and directly access digital files from one another’s hard drives. Many copyrighted works may be stored in digital form, such as software, movies, videos, photographs, etc. Through P2P file sharing it has become increasingly easy to store and transfer these copyrighted works to others, thus increasing the risk that users of P2P software and file-sharing technology will infringe the copyright protections of content owners. If P2P file-sharing applications are installed on your computer, you may be sharing someone else’s copyrighted materials without realizing you are doing so. As a user of the School network, recognizing the legal requirements of the files that you may be sharing with others is important. You should be careful not to download and share copyrighted works with others. The transfer and distribution of these works without authorization of the copyright holder is illegal and prohibited. Violations and Penalties under Federal Law In addition to school sanctions under its policies as more fully described below, 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. How American Institute Combats Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material; Student Sanctions A student’s conduct in the school’s classrooms and websites is subject to and must fully conform to the school policy. American Institute may monitor traffic or bandwidth on the networks utilizing information technology programs designed to detect and identify indicators of illegal P2P file-sharing activity. In addition to, or as an alternative, American Institute may employ other technical means to reduce or block illegal file sharing and other impermissible activities. American Institute will also provide for vigorous enforcement and remediation activities for those students identified through the School Digital Millennium Copyright Act policy as potential violators or infringers of copyright. Disciplinary sanctions will be based on the seriousness of the situation and may include remediation based on a comprehensive system of graduated responses designed to curb illegal file sharing and copyright offenses through limiting and denial of network access or other appropriate means. These sanctions may be in conjunction with additional sanctions through the School Catalog and applicable to the particular situation. Students who are subject to professional codes of conduct that apply to their enrollment at American Institute shall be sanctioned according to the requirements of the respective code. Education and Awareness American Institute uses a variety of means to inform students, faculty and other network users about copyright laws and the response to copyright infringement claims by the School. American Institute informs its campus community through the Consumer Information Guide and other periodic communications that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized P2P file sharing, may subject students and faculty to civil and criminal liabilities and the extent of the possible liabilities. Student Consumer Information is available herein, is provided to potential students and employees, and is sent by email annually to current students, faculty and employees. Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy American Institute’s computer networks, including its classroom environment, are critical assets. Accordingly, American Institute respects the rights of the copyright owners and expects its faculty, staff, students and other network users to comply with U.S. copyright laws. Federal law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display or performance of copyrighted materials over the Internet without permission of the copyright owner, except in compliance with fair use or other copyright applicable statutory exceptions. In addition to sanctions that may be applicable under the School Catalog, American Institute may terminate the network accounts or access to users who have repeatedly infringed on the copyrights of others. American Institute, in compliance with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), has established a mandated process for receiving and tracking alleged incidents of copyright infringement. American Institute has designated an agent who will investigate notices of alleged copyright infringement and take appropriate actions. Such actions may include terminating repeat infringers’ accounts under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The copyright infringement notices must be given in writing, preferably by email, or by U.S. mail to the agent listed below:
  • American Institute Attn: Copyright Agent Subject: Copyright Compliance 711 Westchester Ave, White Plains, NY 10604 Email:
If a valid DMCA notification is received, American Institute will respond under this process by taking down the infringing content found on our networks. On taking down content under the DMCA, American Institute will take reasonable steps to contact the owner of the removed content so that a counter notification may be filed. Upon receiving a valid counter notification, American Institute will generally restore the content in question, unless the school receives notice from the notification provider that a legal action has been filed seeking a court order to restrain the alleged infringer from engaging in the infringing activity. Please note that the DMCA provides that you may be liable for damages including costs and attorneys’ fees if you falsely claim that someone is infringing on your copyright. Alternatively, you can also be liable for damages including attorneys’ fees if you materially misrepresent that an activity is infringing on the copyright of another. Therefore, American Institute recommends contacting an attorney if you are unsure whether your work or the work of another is protected by copyright laws. Filing Notice of Alleged Infringement Following is the process for filing a notification under the DMCA. Notice must be given in writing to the designated agent as specified above and contain the following information:
  1. Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon; for example, describe the work that you own.
  2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing on your copyright as set forth in number one and provide detailed information that is reasonably sufficient to locate the infringing item; for example, provide the link to the infringing material.
  3. Provide sufficient contact information: phone number, address and email address.
  4. If possible, provide information that allows the School to notify the alleged infringing party of notice of the alleged infringement.
  5. The following statement must be included in your notice: “I have a good faith belief that the use of the copyrighted materials described above and contained on the service is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent or by protection of law.”
  6. The following statement must be included in your notice: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”
  7. The notice must be signed.
Filing Counter Notification of Alleged Infringement The person or provider of the alleged infringing material may present a counter notification pursuant to the DMCA. Upon proper counter notification, the School may reinstate the removed content. Notice must be given in writing to the designated copyright agent as specified above and contain the following information:
  1. Identify the material that has been removed. This may include providing the location or the URL when possible.
  2. Provide your name, address, telephone number and email address if available.
  3. Provide a statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which you reside, or for any address outside the United States or any judicial district, in which the service provider may be found, and that you will accept service of process from the person who provided notification to the School of the alleged infringement or an agent of such person.
  4. Provide the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the material identified above was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.”
  5. The notice must be signed.
Upon receiving a valid counter notification, American Institute will provide the person who filed the original notification with a copy of the counter notice and inform him or her that the material will be reinstated or access to it restored between 10 and 14 business days following receipt of the counter notice, pursuant to the DMCA unless the school receives notification that legal action to seek a court order restraining the alleged infringer from further engaging in the infringing activity has been filed.
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