Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

What is the DMCA and what does it mean for me?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 was signed into law to protect the rights of copyright holders and to prevent copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the copying, redistribution or downloading of software, music, videos or games without the copyright holder's expressed permission to do so. In terms of file sharing, this includes downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority to do so or having acquired the copyrighted material in a legal way (purchasing the item for individual use only). In addition, it is a violation to possess or acquire illegal copies. Students must be careful of the content on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing programs, as it is unlikely to be shared by the copyright holder.

In the last decade, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began addressing violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and a number of civil suits were brought against college students at various institutions costing them thousands of dollars.

SUNY Delhi must adhere to the provisions outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and cannot encourage, permit or condone the illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. The college does not allow students to use its network resources to illegally share software, music, video and games.

The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, along with the Computer Information Systems Office, would like to remind students that 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 of no less than $50 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, at its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. 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.

In addition to the federal civil and criminal penalties associated with copyright infringement, violators can also face suspension of campus computer access privileges and campus judicial sanctions. For more information on the college policies associated with computer usage, please refer to your Student Handbook, Student Code of Conduct, Section I, code 27. View the Code of Conduct.

Students are encouraged to enjoy products made available by the Recording Industries, but to do so in a way that is legal. For more information about copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at