Digital Millennium Copyright Act

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The University of Rhode Island recommends these free, legal alternatives to download music. See Media Exchange for more information.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 is a federal law that is designed to protect copyright holders from online theft (the unlawful reproduction or distribution of their works). The DMCA covers music, movies, text, games and any other digital works that are copyrighted.

In February of 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) launched a pre-litigation system directed at colleges and universities.


When an outside agency (i.e. RIAA, ESA, MPAA) detects illicit activity, URI is sent a legal notice, allowing out of court settlement.

In the event that Information and Technology Services is notified by an outside agency that a network port has committed an unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, the department will take action necessary to remove access to the infringing content.

If You Have Been Blocked


If you've been disconnected, please contact the Office of Student Life at (401) 874-2101. Their office is located in Room 330 in the Memorial Union. Continued misuse of the data and exchange of copyrighted material via the URI data network will subject you to disciplinary action as defined by University policies and practices specified in the Student Handbook. In addition, you may be subject to disciplinary action by state and federal laws.


You must sign the "Music and Video Copyright Infringement Assurance Form" to certify that you have removed all infringing content from your computer. This form is available from Information Security located in the top floor of Tyler Hall, room 201.


It is the responsibility of each network user to understand copyright laws protecting the downloading, storing, sharing, and/or distributing (knowingly or unknowingly) of copyright-protected media. Many organizations such as the RIAA are actively serving subpoenas to educational institutions under the DMCA in an effort to prosecute offenders and collect settlements. The University of Rhode Island cannot shield you from possible prosecution. If served with a subpoena, the University is obligated to disclose to authorities and/or copyright holders the identity of users on the University network.


The URI Notifying Agent can be reached at: DMCA@URI.EDU

Other registered notifying agents can be found here:

What is Peer-To-Peer (P2P)?

Ares, AudioGalaxy, BearShare, Blubster, eDonkey, Gnutella, iMesh, KaZaA, LimeWire, Morpheus, Napster, SwapNut, WinMX, and other P2P programs allow users to download and share files between computers. However, one should be aware of the risks involved. While sharing personal files is legal, sharing copyrighted materials is illegal; law enforcement arrests offenders daily. There are also risks to your personal identity. Some P2P programs (regardless of whether or not they are purchased programs) will share everything on your computer with anyone by default and others contain malicious spyware designed to monitor your actions online. There is also a hightened risk of receiving a virus, worm, or trojan, as they move easily through P2P programs. Due to a greater risk that outweighs the benefits, it is our professional advice that you remove file sharing software from your computer. For more detailed information, please see OnGuard Online.

Precedent of Compensation per Damages

In the March, 2008 Atlantic v. Anderson (Southern District of Texas) case, a motion for summary judgment was granted with a total compensation of $23,670 to be paid by the defendant. Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore's decision to award $750 per sound recording shared was defined by the fact that total damages could not be determined. Therefore, Judge Gilmore relied on the default compensation requested by Atlantic Recording Corp.

"Yet, the true cost of Defendant's harms in distributing Plaintiffs' Copyrighted Recordings for download by other users on KaZaA is incalculable. That is, there is no way to ascertain the precise amount of damages ..."

External Links