Fair Use is a legally permissible use of copyrighted material for specific purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship. For more information about fair use, see: http://ogc.harvard.edu/pages/copyright-and-fair-use . The best course of action is to get permission from a copyright holder before using their work. If the copyright holder does not agree that your use qualifies as “fair”, legal action can be brought against you.
This occurs when someone other than the owner is using the computer, most often with the owner's permission. When you give someone access to a computer registered to you, you are taking responsibility for their actions on the Harvard network. Even if they used the computer on another network, they may have left file-sharing software running in the background. For assistance in de-registering computers you no longer use, checking for background software, and securing your computer from unauthorized use, please contact your local help desk.
A number of peer-to-peer file-sharing applications are configured to enable sharing of files on your system by default. These programs typically scan your computer for selected content, such as video and audio files, and then share these files with others on the Internet. This can violate your privacy and potentially break the law regarding unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works. Many peer-to-peer software packages allow you to disable file sharing, although few explicitly show you how.
Copyright owners can file civil suits to recover damages and costs. In many cases, statutory damages of up to $30,000, or up to $150,000 for willful infringement, may be awarded even if there is no proof of actual damages. In addition, in certain cases of willful infringement, the government can file criminal charges, which can result in substantial fines and imprisonment. Use of an academic network does not confer immunity from copyright law, nor can Harvard protect its students, faculty, or staff from criminal investigations or lawsuits relating to their personal actions.
Yes. The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires all colleges and universities to offer legal alternatives to unauthorized downloading. Harvard is pleased to endorse the set of alternatives that are provided by Educause, the higher education technology resource. More information about these alternatives and other related content may be found at http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent.