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Dear Students,

To comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Metropolitan Community College must provide you with information about illegal distribution of copyrighted materials and the penalties for such activity.

Metropolitan Community College intends that everyone at the College adhere to the provisions of the United States Copyright Act. The College does not tolerate the illegal use or reproduction of copyrighted materials in any form.

Copyrighted materials may include

  • articles, books, and other texts in paper and electronic form
  • photos, images
  • sculpture, architecture
  • music, movies, television shows
  • games, software, and other media materials.

Under Fair Use Guidelines, portions of some copyrighted materials may be used briefly within an academic term for educational purposes, such as to complete assignments. However, they may not be free to copy or keep indefinitely without payment, license, and/or permission from the copyright holder. To do so may be a copyright infringement.

Illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing of copyrighted material on college networks is a focus of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. This file sharing includes uploading, downloading, reproducing, and distributing music, movies, and TV shows. MCC wants you to be aware that to curb such activities, our networks use bandwidth shaping and traffic monitoring devices to both track and limit high bandwidth users.

Students who willfully disregard the MCC copyright policy may be in violation of the Academic Honesty policy, the Student Code of Conduct, Procedures Memoranda V-4 on Student Conduct and Discipline, and PM X-15 on Acceptable Use of Information Technology and Resources. Violators may be subject not only to sanctions and disciplinary action from the College, but also to 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, 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.

To avoid copyright violations

  • Do not copy and paste large blocks of unattributed text into assignments, including papers, presentations, and websites. Document your work using quotes, paraphrases, and/or summaries with proper notes and bibliographies.
  • Do not burn and distribute copies of music, movies or other media you have purchased.
  • Do not share copyrighted files, media, or software through P2P technology without proper authorization from the copyright holder.

MCC recommends that if you would like to obtain and keep a copyrighted item, you should verify that it is free to use, or you should purchase your own copy from a legitimate vendor. Each item must be evaluated individually to determine copyright status and acceptable use. If you are in doubt about an item, assume that it is copyrighted until you can verify otherwise.

For more information on copyright, please visit the MCC library website at http://www.mccneb.edu/library/facultyservices/copyright.asp or ask a library staff person.

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