Skip to main content

Copyright Notice

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is committed to educating the campus community concerning the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing. Furthermore, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires that this notice is sent to members of the community annually.

Higher Education Opportunity Act Summary 

Users of WSSU computing resources are advised that the unauthorized copying, distribution, alteration, use, or translation of copyrighted materials, software, motion pictures, music, or other media without the express written permission of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited.  It is your duty to ensure that copyrighted material is not shared through the WSSU network.

Although it may be lawful to use peer-to-peer file sharing software itself, the illegal distribution of copyrighted files with that software is not. In many situations, either downloading or uploading even part of a copyrighted work without permission is copyright infringement. Peer-to-peer file sharing also increases the likelihood that others could access confidential data on your computer or install destructive computer viruses that could spread across the university’s network.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Winston-Salem State University additionally takes its obligations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) very seriously. If WSSU receives a notice concerning a possible infringement, the DMCA requires the university to take certain steps to ensure illegal file sharing or other copyright violations occurring on the WSSU network have been stopped. If WSSU receives such a notice about copyright-infringing material on your computer, your computer privileges will be temporarily suspended, and you will be required to remove the infringing material from your computer.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act Summary


Copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) use automated detection systems to identify copyright infringements. Also, the university is increasing logging and analysis of activity on its networks to include monitoring of peer-to-peer file sharing. WSSU acts quickly when notified of alleged copyright infringements. It refers incidents to appropriate campus officials and takes steps to stop the unauthorized download or distribution of copyrighted materials.

Penalties & Judgments

If you illegally download, upload, copy or distribute copyrighted content, even unintentionally, you are at risk for severe penalties. Violating the rights of a copyright owner can result in judgments in the form of actual or statutory damages. The courts determine the costs associated with copyright infringement, and statutory damages can range from $200 per violation to $150,000 per violation. Alternatively, a violation can result in a judgment for actual damages, and in the case of a willful violation, you can be held accountable to pay costs and attorneys’ fees related to litigation. Finally, certain intentional actions could result in criminal charges which could include fines and jail time.

Legal Alternatives for Copyrighted Materials

There are many legal sources for copyrighted material such as music and movies. They have a broad range of business models; some are even free. Industry associations maintain the most up-to-date and comprehensive compendia of legal sources. In addition to useful lists of music sources, the web sites below also present the industry's perspective on copyright issues. No endorsement or evaluation is intended.