It's very easy to copy and use files from the Web and other sources, and some people maintain that it doesn't hurt anyone to download and share songs, movies, and other files. However, unauthorized copying and sharing of copyrighted works not only deprives artists and publishers of a fair return on their works, it is illegal.
If you use copyrighted materials such as text, photographs, images, video, or audio files, you must have permission from the copyright holder. Always ask permission from the author if you would like to use information or images you find on the Web. When in doubt, get written permission. Students should not regard the issue of illegal file sharing as a trivial matter. Individuals who are interested in downloading music should use legal sources.
If you are found downloading or distributing illegal media you may lose network access privileges at Penn State or may be referred for University disciplinary actions. You could also face the possibility of a lawsuit from agencies such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) or the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). For the most serious offenders, criminal charges can result as well.
To report possible copyright infringement, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about legal use of media at the following sites: