Some frequently asked questions about copyright and file sharing

How do I know what is legal and what is not when it comes to copying music, movies and software?
Content on your personal machine that is not shared is your private property, governed by standard search and seizure protections. If you are openly sharing files that are not password protected or distributing copyrighted material in another way, you are breaking the law.

If all I do is download music files, am I breaking the law?
If you do not have permission to download copyrighted material, you are breaking the law. For more information about copyright law and how Furman responds to notices of copyright infringement see our Copyright and File Sharing page​.

What if I upload or download files to or from a server that is based outside of the U.S.?
If you are in the United States, U.S. copyright law applies to you regardless of where the server may be located.

If I bought the CD, is it okay to make copies of it?
It is illegal to copy a CD for use by someone other than the original purchaser.

How do I know if something is copyrighted?
When you buy music legally, there is usually a copyright mark somewhere on the product. Stolen music generally doesn’t bear a copyright mark or warning. Either way, the copyright law still applies. A copyrighted creative work does not have to be marked as such to be protected by law.

Where can I legally download media?
There are a number of sites that list legal sites for viewing music, movies and other copyrighted materials online. Some examples include:

How can I remove peer-to-peer file sharing software from my computer?

The University of Chicago maintains a site with instructions for disabling various peer-to-peer file sharing programs.


Creative Commons Info Creative Commons licenses help copyright owners allow legal re-use of their copyrighted works.

Related University Policies

072.1 Electronic Messaging
077.5 Copying of Computer Software
189.2 Copyright Guidelines



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