Copyright Infringement

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Student Survival Guide
This article is part of the

Student Survival Guide Series

Copyright Infringement IS BEING MONITORED and Winona State WILL BE following up on any reported activity

What is Copyright Infringment?

WIKIPEDIA defines copyright infringement as "the unauthorized or prohibited use of works covered by copyright law, in a way that violates one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work

In other words if something was created by someone else, and they have a copyright on it, you need their permission to use it ... period. This includes music, movies, poems, plays, text, etc.

It is basically stealing another person's property.

How Will You Get Caught

Content publishers have sophisticated means of tracking people downloading files illegally including getting information from other peer to peer users directly. When something is illegally downloaded they turn in the IP address. It is very easy for them to find you.

What is an IP Address?

An IP address (Internet Protocol address) is a unique address that certain electronic devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a computer network utilizing the Internet Protocol. Some People refer to it as a digital fingerprint.

How Do We Know It is You?

Minnesota State has a list of IP addresses and assigns a portion of those addresses to Winona State. Winona State then assigns the IP addresses to the mobile devices. The laptops are then assigned to students ... so when an IP address is turned in to Winona State the student that did the downloading can be traced by their IP address.

Winona State's Policy

Winona State University follows Minnesota State 5.22 Acceptable Use of Computers and Information Technology Resources Policy:

“Downloading or distributing copyrighted material, including through peer-to-peer file sharing, without the permission of the copyright owner is against the law. Illegal downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials can result in you being prosecuted in criminal court and/or sued for damages in civil court. Criminal penalties for first-time offenders can be as high as five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. If sued in civil court, you may be responsible for monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and civil penalties up to $150,000 per work distributed. Use of Winona State University’s resources for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials is forbidden."


1st Offense

For a student’s first offence, the student shall be required to meet with an IT staff member. During this meeting, the student will be educated on copyright infringement.

Further Offenses

If the student has previously had a copyright infringement offense at Winona State, and the student’s IP address is again turned in for copyright infringement, the matter shall be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Citizenship for possible disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.