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Copyright Essentials

An introduction to copyright issues for the NMSU community. This guide does NOT supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

Resources for Legal File Sharing

How can I lawfully download and share copyrighted material?

For additional information, including legal downloading resources, please visit :

Consequences of Illegal Downloading and File Sharing

NMSU takes the illegal downloading of copyrighted material seriously, and so does the federal government. In fact, anyone found to have infringed on a copyrighted work through illegal downloading may be liable for statutory damages of up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased to up to $150,000 for each work infringed. The damages don't include liability for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights.

Be smart, don't download copyrighted material without the legal right to do so.

If NMSU discovers you are illegally downloading copyrighted material, this is what happens:

Strike 1 - the first offense:

1. You lose your network access privileges and/or your computer gets disconnected from the network. 2. ICT, NMSU's Information Communication and Technology department, will contact you via email to inform you that a violation has been detected and to explain the disconnection/network access removal. ICT will request that you send a confirmation via email stating that you understand the nature of the violation. 3. Your network privileges will be restored along with your computer's access. ICT will log the event.

 Strike 2 - the second offense:

1. You lose your network access privileges and/or your computer gets disconnected from the network. 2. You will be directed to meet with NMSU's Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), or designee to discuss the violation and the resulting penalties for further violations. You will be required to sign a letter of acknowledgement and compliance 3. Your network privileges will be restored along with your computer's access upon authorization from the CISO, CIO, or designee.

 Strike 3 - your last chance:

1. You lose your network access privileges and/or your computer gets disconnected from the network.2. Details of the violation will be forwarded to the NMSU Dean of Students for resolution. If you are a resident in Student Housing the violation details will also be sent to the Director of Student Housing for additional resolution. 3. Your network privileges will be restored along with your computer's access upon authorization from the CISO, CIO, or designee.

A special note:

In the past, NMSU has been subpoenaed to provide the names of those who have illegally downloaded copyrighted material. Please, don't let your name be associated with the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials!

Further Information and Assistance

Where can I get more information?

For general information on copyright and fair use email copyright@lib.nmsu.edu

For further assistance with questions about downloading or file sharing email help@nmsu.edu or call the ICT Help Desk at 646-1810

or see the following: