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.

The US Department of Education issued a “Dear  Colleague” letter regarding compliance with The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) HEOA includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted material through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. These provisions include requirements that:

  • institutions certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed plans to “effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
  • institutions make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps that institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • institutions publicize alternatives to illegal file sharing.

The policy outlines Musicians Institute’s plan to comply with these requirements.

Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

Musician Institute currently employs bandwidth-shaping technology to prioritize network traffic, and blocks students’ ability to access these sites from the student computer networks.

Musicians Institute responds promptly to legitimate notices or letters of illegal copyright infringement based on the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and directs both our information Technology and Compliance departments to investigate and respond.

Sanctions: Musician Institute will cooperate fully with any investigation by public authorities related to illegally downloaded copyrighted information. Students found guilty will be subject to the full extent of fines and penalties imposed, as well as facing automatic loss of Musician Institute network access, and possible suspension. 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 attorney 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 refer to the US Copyright Office, especially their FAQ-s.

Maintenance of this plan: Musician Institute will review this plan each year to insure it is current and maintains the appropriate and necessary information to effectively combat illegal file sharing, as well as update the methods employed as new technological deterrents become available.


Program requirements, course information, and further GCA details.


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