The Dangers and Risks of Illegal File Sharing

As the fall semester gets underway, I’m writing to remind you of the risks involved with illegal downloading and/or sharing of copyrighted music, movies, games and software over the Internet. Unauthorized obtaining, sharing or offering such copyrighted material is illegal and in violation of U.S. copyright law. If caught, you may face severe civil and criminal penalties, including prison and monetary damages. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages of up to $30,000 for each work and, if found to be willful, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. Movie and recording companies actively monitor the Internet to identify individuals who are illegally downloading and/or sharing movies and music via peer-to-peer networks.


ASU fully complies with Federal law and takes prompt action when notified that one of its students may be illegally downloading and/or sharing copyrighted material. University Policy 500-008, Unauthorized Downloading and File Sharing of Copyrighted Digital Materials, is located on the ASU Computing Services Website, at If caught, ASU penalties could include loss of access to the campus computer network, disciplinary action and in extreme cases, expulsion from the University.


You may think that the large movie or recording companies won’t bother prosecuting a single university-student downloading or sharing copyrighted material. Think again. Organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America are serious about protecting their copyrighted material. In 2009, a Boston University graduate student was ordered to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and distributing 30 songs. This comes out to $22,500, per incident, of copyright infringement. There are a number of online sources that provide legal alternatives for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material. A listing of many of these sites can be found at:


If you have specific questions regarding ASU’s Unauthorized Downloading and File Sharing Policy please contact the

ASU Computing Services Help Desk at 587-7741 or via email at


Thanks and have a great semester!

Computing Services