File sharing programs are not explicitly illegal, but are often used to obtain copyrighted material. Downloading, distributing, and uploading copyrighted material without the author's permission is illegal and unethical; it is a violation of U.S. Law and University Policies. Anyone who illegally downloads, distributes, or copies copyrighted material risks criminal prosecution and civil litigation.
Copyright violations can have serious civil and criminal penalties. Potential civil and criminal penalties include:
- Actual damages or statutory damages from $750 to $30,000 per violation/work
- Up to $150,000 per work, prosecution fees, 0-5 years inprisoment, and up to $250,000 per offense for willful copyright infringement