U.S. Department of Education’s Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

“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. For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ’s at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

Technical College of the Lowcountry has designated an agent to receive notification of claimed copyright infringement on TCL’s web site as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you believe your work is being infringed on TCL’s web site, please notify our copyright agent.

According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the notification of claimed infringement must include:

  • Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed (include ISBN, title, etc.)
  • Identification and URL of the material that is claimed to be infringing
  • Information sufficient to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, fax number, and electronic mail address
  • Other information relating to your claim

For more information, including HEOA compliance click here.

For additional resources visit the library’s copyright page.