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Basics of copyright rules, restrictions, and permissions for students, faculty and staff.

Downloading, Copying and Streaming Music and Media

Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and You

Music, Video, Software and Games:  your obligations and rights

With the entire world available on-line, it is sometimes difficult to know what is OK to do.  While it might seem the most natural thing in the world to download a song and copy it to CD for a friend, or to send some really cool music that you just found to your entire buddy list, it’s not.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act gave more coverage to formats that were not in existence when the copyright law was last updated.  This includes websites and digital media.  In 2008, new disclosure requirements were added to the DMCA that could have an impact on you.

What is OK?

You can share files of your own creation, or download and/or share anything that is available for free on a legitimate website.  You can rip music to an ipod, so long as you retain ownership of the CD or on-line file.

What is not OK?

Copying materials you own and sending them to friends electronically; circumventing software that prevents you from downloading material on a website that charges for downloading its files; downloading material from a site that is illegally making the files available. This includes music, software applications, video files, and music, as well as art, text, graphics and photographs that are copyrighted.

What can happen if I'm caught?

Activities of this kind are called copyright infringement, and they can carry penalties that range from suspension of your internet service to monetary penalties of $750 to $150,000 per song. 

Entities such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) actively monitor the internet for file traders and illegal downloading of music.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what's legal and what's not when it comes to copying music?

Unless you can verify that an item is in the public domain, it's probably protected by copyright. Downloading, sharing, burning CD's, streaming material or other formats are all illegal unless you have the permission of the copyright holder.

Are there sites that legally offer music for downloading?

Yes.  Click here for more information.

What if I want to burn the music from some of my CD's to my computer, or if I want to make a mix for my party?

That would be considered fair use, as you already own the items and are changing the format for your own use.

After I've loaded the music onto my device, can I sell my CD's since I won't need them anymore?

No; legally, you can only retain the music on your iPOD for as long as you own the CD's.

What if I want to make a mix for my friend and e-mail it to him, or upload it to his cloud account?

That's not considered fair use; you can only copy things that you own, for your own use.

What about movies? Can I send a short clip to a friend?

Short clips, 30 seconds or less, are considered acceptable.

If I find a website that has what I want for free, can’t I download it?  It would be the website owners who are breaking the law, not me.

If you download music or video from a site that is using it illegally, you risk being prosecuted.


Penalties Levied by SUNY Brockport

SUNY Brockport must follow the law as prescribed by the DMCA, and cannot encourage, permit or otherwise condone the illegal sharing of copyrighted material.  When the College is notified of copyright violations, it has the obligation to insist on the removal of illegal copyrighted material.  Violators face a number of sanctions ranging from reprimands to suspension of internet access, to disciplinary probation or even suspension.

If the violation takes place in a residence hall:

-First and Second Offense: Warning letter is sent to the students account

-Third Offense:  Internet is shut off for 3 days

-Fourth Offense: Internet Service is shut off for 7 days

 For continued abuse of the policy, or for violations that take place in a campus computer lab, additional penalties may be implemented.




These pages will give you more information on safely and legally downloading, streaming and sharing music and other media files.

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2024 10:08 AM