Financial Aid

Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions

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

The Office of Judicial Affairs is responsible for ensuring a fair, just, and impartial disciplinary process for students charged with violating the Student Code of Conduct, with a goal of providing information and resources to achieve a community of respect, civility and integrity for all members of the community. In all of their doings, the staff strives to make each student interaction an educational one for all parties. For additional information, visit the CSUMB Judicial Affairs Website or the Academic Integrity section of CSUMB Policy