Copyright Compliance

The University of South Carolina Upstate is committed to upholding the U.S. Copyright Law and through the Policy on Network Access and Acceptable Use, specifically prohibits violation of the U.S. Copyright Law.

The resources available on this site are intended to educate students, faculty, and staff about illegal use of copyrighted material.

Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

By making use of computing resources, users consent to allow information to be divulged to authorized law enforcement or other relevant agencies, in accordance with law.

Copyright, obscenity, libel, and other laws governing communication and publication apply to electronic media as well. Unauthorized copying or distribution of software or other copyright material is prohibited. Individual users are responsible and liable for such infringing activities.

Penalties for Violation of Copyright Law

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 website of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

University Policies for Unauthorized Distribution and Downloading

USC Upstate prohibits and will comply with federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests surrounding unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing. Noncompliance may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities. Please contact the Help Desk for questions.

Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)

As part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Universities are required to take measures to reduce acts of copyright infringement. More information on this matter can be found on the Educause website.

If you have any questions about copyright compliance, please give the Help Desk a call at (864) 503-5257, e-mail us at, or visit in person in Administration 109.