Copyrights and Copyright infringement Laws

The U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs copyright infringement, which is the act of reproducing or distributing a copyrighted work without permission or legal authority of the copyright owner. Illegal downloading or uploading of music, movies, software or any substantial part of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Anyone found liable for copyright infringement may be ordered to pay civil and criminal penalties. In civil court, either actual damages or "statutory" damages no less than $750 and no more than $30,000 per copyrighted work may be assessed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per copyrighted work. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including federal fines and imprisonment of up to ten years per offense. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 506 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2319.

In accordance with university policy, the University of Houston will follow U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code) in dealing with allegations or violations of copyright infringement. These actions may also result in being charged with violations of the student disciplinary code, which could lead to expulsion from the University, termina-tion of employment and/or legal action by the University of Houston.

For more information about the University of Houston System Policy on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, visit

For more information about copyrights, visit the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at