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Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?
  2. How does the DMCA affect students, faculty and staff at UNCG?
  3. What are the potential legal penalties for violation of federal copyright laws?
  4. What is the greatest cause of copyright infringements at UNCG?
  5. What are the risks associated with illegal sharing of copyrighted files?
  6. What does UNCG do when it receives a copyright infringement complaint?
  7. What happens if I do not respond to a copyright infringement complaint?
  8. Where can I go for more information?



  1. What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?
    In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed into law the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is intended to protect the rights of owners of copyrighted digital media.

  2. How does the DMCA affect students, faculty and staff at UNCG?
    As a user of the University's computing resources, individuals have a responsibility to comply with University policies and state and federal laws. This includes the DMCA.
    As a student, faculty, or staff member, you have online access to the university's computing network(s), including access to the Internet. Providing this access places the University in the position of an Online Service Provider (OSP). As such, the DMCA requires the university to expeditiously respond to complaints it receives of copyright infringements over its networks, including the wired (direct connect including labs and most office computers) network and the wireless (visitor and student/faculty/staff) networks. Additionally, as an OSP, UNCG may be served with a subpoena for the identity of the owner of a computer determined to contain infringing materials. UNCG will comply with a lawfully issued subpoena that meets the requirements of the DMCA. Violation of the DMCA can result in severe civil or criminal penalties.

  3. What are the potential legal penalties for violation of federal copyright laws?
    This information can be found on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act home page.

  4. What is the greatest cause of copyright infringements at UNCG?
    By far, the greatest cause of copyright infringements is the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing services, such as BitTorrent, for sharing music and movies. Although the use of P2P file sharing is not illegal in and of itself, using it to share copyright protected files is, unless the persons doing the sharing have express permission from the copyright owner. Generally, the P2P file sharing programs install the software and automatically share downloaded files with other Internet users. Copyright owners and their agents use automated methods to actively scan the Internet to detect computers that are illegally sharing copyrighted files.

  5. What are the risks associated with illegal sharing of copyrighted files?
    By using P2P file sharing programs that share copyrighted material, you may be at risk of obtaining viruses, spyware, or other malicious software. Also, you may be subject to campus disciplinary action and the possibility of civil litigation by copyright holders or even criminal prosecution.

  6. What does UNCG do when it receives a copyright infringement complaint?
    When notified of a copyright infringement complaint by a copyright owner of infringing materials on a computer attached to the university network, UNCG will take immediate action to block Internet access to the computer and notify the owner of the computer. Internet access will be restored after the infringing material is removed from the computer or within 14 days after receiving a proper counter-notification unless the copyright owner files an action seeking a court order against the computer owner. A second violation can result in loss of Internet access for 3 years.
    Information regarding the counter notification is provided for your information only, and not as legal advice. The recipient of a copyright infringement complaint who is considering a counter notification should seek the advice of an attorney at his/her own expense to review the DMCA, the form of any counter notice, and other applicable copyright laws. The UNCG Office of the General Counsel is unable to provide this advice.

  7. What happens if I do not respond to a copyright infringement complaint?
    The computer identified in the complaint will remain blocked from the Internet. For more information about how UNCG processes copyright infringement complaints, go to the Notice and Takedown Procedures Web page.

  8. Where can I go for more information?
    For more information about the DMCA, visit the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Web page or contact 6-TECH at 336-256-TECH (8324).