Information Technology


Copyright Infringement Policy

Copyright infringement involves the reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work without permission or legal authority.  The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, is subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.  Violations that occur on BW Internet traffic are reported to the IT Department by our service provider (currently OARnet). 

Baldwin Wallace University, in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA*), takes quick action when notified of an alleged copyright infringement occurring from a computer connected to the campus network.  Incidents are referred to the appropriate campus officials and steps are taken to stop unauthorized downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials.  

Actions resulting from the discovery of copyright infringement include the following steps:

  • Identify the computer responsible for the violation and contact the owner
  • Notify the owner to cease all further activity involving illegal file sharing or copyright infringement
  • Require the deletion of illegally acquired files
  • Notify the Director of Residence of Life and Judicial Affairs (resident students)
  • Schedule an official hearing with Judicial Affairs (students)
  • Require a written essay on the topic of copyright infringement (students)
  • Impose probationary sanctions for residency (resident students)
  • Possible probationary sanctions for athletic participation (students)

All members of the campus community are cautioned against the utilization of Peer-to-Peer applications, as besides potential legal issues, inherent information security risks exist. 
Some examples of Peer-to-Peer applications include but are not limited to:

  • Ares
  • BitTorrent
  • eDonkey
  • Kazaa
  • Limewire
  • Soulseek 

    Many of these programs are set up by default to obtain confidential information stored on personal computers and subsequently share this data with third parties.  File sharing programs have also been used to introduce viruses and malware, thereby causing irretrievable loss of data.

All members of the BW community are provided bandwidth to access commercial entities such as iTunes, Amazon, and various competitors of legal alternatives for downloading materials.  Within budgetary considerations, It will consider new opportunities to offer legal alternatives for downloading or acquiring copyrighted materials and address any new copyright issues as they emerge.

The Department of Information Technology has also established the following practices to assist in preventing copyright infringement:

  • Network Services utilizes an inline packet analyzer to regulate bandwidth and classify Internet traffic by application.  Traffic is monitored for irregularities and suspected violations.
  • Behavior analysis software is readily available to monitor the BW network when indicated.
  • The Information Technology website features links to the University's Copyright Infringement Policy and Responsible Use of Technology Resources Policy.
  • Printed copies of the Copyright Infringement Policy will be made available upon request.
  • Posters dealing with network security issues, including copyright infringement and file sharing, are hung in public areas where students congregate (such as the residence halls and the student union).
  • Updated information and campus statistics related to this issue will be posted on the BW Information Technology Web site.
  • Annually, Network Services meets with IT management to discuss violation statistics of the previous year and consider new/other measures for addressing this issue.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code).  These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work.  In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.  Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties.  In general, 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, Section 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.  (see

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (the HEA).  The HEOA makes a number of changes to programs authorized under the HEA, authorizes new programs, and makes changes to other laws.  


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