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Copyright: Copyright Infringement

Information on Copyright


U.S. Department of Education's Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

"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 Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

U.S Copyright and Chapter 5"

Using Images and copyright issues

Most online images can be used for class papers, class presentations, and even websites under the educational fair use policy, as long as they are only available to your own educational community. "Fair Use" allows scholars, students, teachers, and others to use works that are still in copyright protection for the purpose of education and criticism. This does not mean that any use is fair as long as it is for educational purposes, but education is specifically mentioned as a favored purpose. 

Here is a link to Brown University Library's guide for images and copyright:

For more info, here is a link to the MIT Libraries' guide for images and fair use:

  Alternatives to Illegal Downloading

Uploading or downloading copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner is a violation of TCTC policy and U.S. law.

Legal alternatives to unauthorized downloading link: