Digital Copyright Guidelines

lowdown on downloads.

Illegal downloading? Not on our network.

Illegal behavior such as unauthorized sharing of copyrighted music, movies, videos, games or software is strictly prohibited.

Use of the UNL network, which is a shared resource, is a privilege that may be revoked if it is abused. By registering your computer, you accept personal responsibility for abiding by University Computer Use Policies.

Copyright Infringement Notice Procedures

Learn how to download legally

So what happens if I get caught downloading illegally?

Organizations that represent the interests of artists and other copyright holders in the U.S. actively search the Internet for evidence of copyright violations. If they find it, they typically send a written complaint to the University. If we receive a complaint about you, we will first verify that the complaint is against a computer that is connected to the campus network. One of the following consequences will then ensue:


Strike One

You will receive an e-mail notification including a copy of the complaint. The incident will be entered into a database. If there is no way to contact you, your connection to the network may be disabled until we can establish contact.


Strike Two

You will receive a second warning, including the new complaint and the date of the first warning. The database will be updated to register the second incident. You will need to complete a security awareness course.  In addition, if you are a student in the Residence Halls, you will be required to state in writing within seven days that the illegal behavior will be stopped or else network access will be disabled until you do so. If you are using a computer elsewhere on campus, your department will receive a copy of the second warning.


Strike Three

Your network access will be disabled indefinitely. The database will be updated to register the third incident. In addition, if you are a student in the Residence Halls, notice will be sent to the Dean of Students. If you are using a computer elsewhere on campus, appropriate management will be notified. You may also be subject to additional disciplinary action and enforcement of state and federal law.


What is a copyright?

The United States Copyright Office defines copyright as the following: Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship,"including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following: To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords; To prepare derivative works based upon the work; To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works; To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and In the case of sound recordings*, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

What is copyright infringement?

As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.


What is peer-to-peer (P2P) networking?

A type of network where computers communicate directly with each other, rather than through a central server. Often referred to simply as peer-to-peer, or abbreviated P2P, a type of network in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities in contrast to client/server architectures, in which some computers are dedicated to serving the other computers. A "network" is a group of two or more computer systems linked together by various methods. In recent usage, peer-to-peer has come to describe applications in which users can use the Internet to exchange files with each other directly or through a mediating server.

"Under U.S. law, stealing intellectual property is just that-stealing. It hurts artists, the music industry, the movie industry, and others involved in creative work. And it is unfortunate that the software being used-called 'file sharing,' as if it were simply enabling friends to share recipes, is helping create a generation of Americans who don't see the harm.

"The Internet and related technologies, if used properly, have the potential to expose millions of people to creative work that would otherwise not be seen or heard. The question is whether their potential will be realized at the expense of artists, authors, software developers, scientists, and others who rely on copyright protection to earn a living.

"The issue we will be struggling with today is what to do about what I hope is acknowledged to be a problem. How do we instill
in people that downloading a song or a movie off the Internet, without permission, is like stealing a CD from a store?"

-Senator Carl Levin, Michigan.

Excerpted from "Privacy and Piracy: The Paradox of Illegal File Sharing on Peer-to-Peer Networks and the Impact of Technology on the Entertainment Industry" (Public Domain)