Copyright Material Stored on Computers
All members of the Department should read the University Information Service’s University Information Service’s rules concerning the responsibility that all members of the University have to ensure that others’ copyright is not infringed. Downloading copyright material without paying the appropriate licensing charge is illegal as is making copyright material available to others without the permission of the copyright holder; this includes making available copies on a disk or over the network. The University Information Service will take action against copyright infringers.
Before making copies of anyone else’s material available on the web, it is important to check the copyright position carefully and, if the material is copyright, obtain appropriate authorisation from the copyright holder. If in doubt about the copyright position, do not risk using the material. The University’s Legal Services Office publish comprehensive guidance on Copyright Compliance.
Copyright owners are becoming increasingly vigilant in seeking out infringement of their copyright, often hiring specialist companies to trawl web sites for them. Whilst the norm used to be that a rapid response to a request to remove the copyright material from the server was sufficient, payment for the use to date of the material is now commonly sought and may involve fees of several hundred pounds. The Department would at minimum pass on these costs and the cost of staff time dealing with the complaint but also, as any such infringement constitutes a breach of the Department’s Rules on the use of computers, disciplinary action may be taken.
Typical complaints cover a wide range of copyright material: computer software, games, music, movies etc. In most cases the offending material has been downloaded via peer2peer networks such as BitTorrent, eMule and Gnutella, using programs which automatically (and usually silently) advertise the newly made illicit copy to others. The use of such programs on the Department’s network is prohibited without explicit authorisation for academic purposes.