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Copyright Policy

As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Shepherd University has put together these web pages to inform current and prospective students about copyright laws and the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, commonly referred to as illegal downloading or copyright infringement, and frequently facilitated via peer-to-peer file sharing networks. This information is permanently available at and is available in printed form upon request.

Once per year, students will be given appropriate notice of this information via electronic mail at their Shepherd University email addresses. In each of the following sections, there is an easier-to-read summary followed by the exacting details. Please be sure you understand this information fully, and contact us if you have specific questions.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act notification
Summary: How to contact I. T. Services if you think the DMCA was violated.

Civil and criminal penalties
Summary: Penalties are as much as $150,000 for each song or music download, and maybe time in prison.

Legal alternatives
Summary: Buy your music and movies, or find artists who are cool with giving away their art.

Shepherd’s Copyright Policies and Procedures
Summary: These are the rules we all follow to ensure ethical and legal use of network resources.

Technical Methods
Summary: We use network tools to ensure illegal downloading gets the lowest priority, while legitimate academic purposes get high priority.

Assessment of procedure
Summary: We check back each year to see if our plans are working. So far, they have been.

Many legal alternatives to copyright infringement exist. The Amazon Music Store, iTunes, Rhapsody, Hulu, Netflix,, and YouTube are just a few of the places where you can download music or watch movies and television shows legally. Some are subscription services (e.g., Netflix), some are available at low cost ($0.99/song at iTunes, for example), while others are free (Hulu and YouTube). Many artists, especially new and independent musicians, make sample songs available through their web sites.

Here is a link to a resource page maintained by Educause:Legal content downloading page

If you own a music CD, you are permitted to copy (‘rip’) that music for playback on your personal computer or portable music player. You are not permitted to make a copy of that CD to give to someone else -that is unauthorized distribution- unless you are specifically granted such permission, such as through a Creative Commons license. If you own digital tracks (e.g., downloads from the Amazon Music Store), you are permitted to copy those tracks onto a CD for backup purposes. The same prohibition on distribution to others applies to digital tracks as well.

Copyright owners who believe that Shepherd University students, faculty, or staff are infringing upon their copyrights are directed to send notice to:

Director of Information Technology Services
Shepherd University
PO Box 5000
Shepherdstown, WV 25443

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