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Information for Students Regarding Copyright and Technology Resources

    It is the policy of Ringling College of Art and Design to comply with copyright and other intellectual property laws. As a network and Internet user, you must be aware of laws and policies concerning the use of copyrighted material, especially digital material – music, movies, software, etc.

    Students agree to comply with Ringling’s policies and procedures with respect to copyright, intellectual property, and use of technology resources when then enroll at the College. These may be found in the Student Handbook, pages 101-115, and include:

    Copyright exists in any original work which exists or is fixed in any tangible medium of expression. Images displayable on computer screens, computer software, music, books, magazines, scientific and other journals, photographs and articles are some of the things subject to copyright. A copyright notice is not required for the work to be protected.

    As provided in 17 U.S.C. §§ 107 and 108, it is a violation of copyright law to copy, distribute, display, exhibit or perform copyrighted works without the authority of the owner of the copyright, except for those circumstances which meet the exemptions and exceptions as specified by law. For information about copyright law and various exceptions, see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially the FAQs. In short, copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner. In the file sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

    Legal 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.

    Institutional sanctions can include suspension of user’s access to Ringling College networks and referral to the appropriate College administrative office for disciplinary action.

    Legal alternatives to illegal downloading include licensed resources provided by Ringling College's Kimbrough Library and Office of Institutional Technology and the following suggested resources:


    Office of Institutional Technology and Kimbrough Library




    Institutional Technology

    IT Support Hours

    Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm

    phone: (941)359-7633

    fax: (941)359-7615

    online support requests (for current students, faculty, and staff): support@ringling.edu