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Personal Liabilities

Each BYU-Idaho student and faculty member can be held to criminal/civil liability under the copyright act of 1998.
Everyone has an internal Liahona, but too often we don't pay enough attention to what it's trying to tell us. (Alma 37:38-47)

Our personal Liahona can tell us when we are going in the right direction and when we are going in some other direction. The complexity of technology and how society chooses to address technology use make it difficult to find true north. We need to listen to the Spirit and be consistent in our decisions in using digital technology.

All members of the BYU-Idaho community are reminded that under the provisions outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) enacted in 1998: If you download, copy, use, or share copyrighted digital information files, including but not limited to music, movies, images, or video games, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may incur civil/criminal liabilities. Students and other members of the BYU-Idaho community should review the BYU-Idaho copyright policy for further information.

Criminal/Civil Liability

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, 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.

Institutional Liability

A portion of the BYU-Idaho Copyright Policy states: "Members of the BYU-Idaho community who disregard this Copyright Policy may violate the Honor Code and the terms of their employment (i.e., they may jeopardize their employment); may place themselves at risk for possible legal action, and may incur personal liability."