Copyright & Piracy at Mary Baldwin


Policy and Law 

Security Alert!

Violation Notices

This site has been set up to help you understand copyright laws and policies as they apply to digital materials here at Mary Baldwin . We are here to tell you about Mary Baldwin’s commitment to protecting lawful copyrights, the administrative process used to handle infringement cases, and ways you can protect yourself from being involved unwittingly in illegal activities.

Mary Baldwin takes copyright issues very seriously. If you download a song or a movie, a computer game or a software application in violation of its copyright, you’re not just eating up all the bandwidth in your dorm – you are stealing. If you share those copyrighted materials with others, you’re helping them to steal, too. In addition, you might also be charged with an Mary Baldwin Honor Offense.

Industry lawyers are beginning to target individuals who violate their copyrights. You could be liable to huge fines – even jail time – if you infringe. If it comes to Mary Baldwin’s attention that you’re violating digital copyrights, you could find yourself with no network access – that means no email, no Instant Messenger, no Internet. And it may cost you money to get it back.

Leaving home to go to university means more autonomy for you, more freedom to make your own choices. It also means a greater burden of responsibility – so choose wisely.

Use the navigation bar at left to find the information you need about copyright issues and how the affect you.

Policy and Law

Simply stated, Mary Baldwin’s policy is to respect copyright laws. The people who create and own digital materials are afforded certain copyright protections by federal law. If you compromise those protections by using copyrighted materials in an unlawful way, you are also violating Mary Baldwin policy.

To get the complete story on Mary Baldwin’s policy as it relates to copyright, visit the policy page at

What is the DMCA?The DMCA is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. This legislation was enacted by the U.S. Congress in order to meet the unique challenges to traditional copyright law that were posed by digital media. Mary Baldwin’s policies with regard to notification of digital copyright violators and sanctions on abuse are based on the provisions of the DMCA.You can find the U.S. Copyright Office’s summary of the DMCA at

Violation Notices

Industries that rely heavily on creation and sale of digital materials – like record companies, movie studios, and software vendors – monitor the Internet aggressively to detect and prosecute violations of their copyrights. When one of these agencies discovers what it believes to be a copyright infringement by a computer on the Mary Baldwin network, it triggers the following chain of events:

  1. The agency sends a violation notice to the university administration. (See a sample violation notice)
  2. Mary Baldwin Administration asks IT to locate the computer specified in the alleged violation, determine who owns or is responsible for that machine, and send that person a copy of the notice. Just for illustration purposes, let’s say that person is you.
  3. If it’s the first time you’ve been cited for a violation, your internet access will be temporarily blocked.  On campus services like Mary BaldwinMail, Library, Blackboard will still be available to you.  During this time,  you must search for and delete any files on your computer that match the file name(s) specified in the complaint, and notify IT within three business days that the material has been deleted. In addition, you might also be charged with an Mary Baldwin Honor Offense.
    • To look for specific files, Windows users should click on “Start”, then “Search”, then “Find Files and Folders”, and key in the file name. Mac users should click on “Find…” from the File menu of Finder.
    • If you don’t reply within three business days, IT will disconnect your machine from the Mary Baldwin network, which will also block access to Mary Baldwin provided services. In that case, OIT will reconnect you to the network three more business days after we hear back from you that the files have been removed from your computer. The reconnect fee is waived for first-time incidents.
    • To ensure you do not get further violations, you should consider removing any Peer-to-Peer file trading software installed on your computer.
  4. If this is not the first time you’ve been cited, the outcomes are harsher:
    • For a second incident, your machine is disconnected from the network immediately, including access to Mary Baldwin Services. Ten business days after you notify us that the problem is resolved and pay a $100 reconnect fee, your network access is restored.
    • The third time you are cited, you are disconnected immediately from the network. You are not eligible for re-connection until forty days after you inform CIS that you have removed the specified files from your computer, and pay a triple re-connection fee ($300). You might also be liable for more serious Mary Baldwin judicial proceedings.

While it may well be that you were unaware your activity was illegal – or that someone else has used security vulnerabilities in your computer to conduct illegal activity without your knowledge – you are still responsible for how your computer was used and all the outcomes described above still apply.

Can the university protect the identities of individual students from industry representatives? Mary Baldwin can’t protect individuals who, knowingly or not, distribute copyrighted material without an appropriate license. Typically, when industry representatives send a copyright complaint to Mary Baldwin, they don’t ask us to identify the specific person whose computer hosted the alleged infringement; they just want it stopped. If they do make such a request via a court order, though, Mary Baldwin has no choice but to comply. Individual students have been sued for copyright violations in cases like these.


If you are certain that you are legally using the material the copyright owner says you are infringing upon, or that the copyright owner has misidentified the material, you can file a counter-notice – after you remove the specified material from your computer or network access to your machine has been disabled.

If you feel that you are legally using material that a copyright owner says you are infringing upon, or that the copyright owner has misidentified the material, you can file a counter notice after you have removed the specified material from your computer or the network access to your computer has been disabled. The College will pass your counter-notice on to the copyright owner as long as it meets these requirements:

  • You physically or digitally sign the counter-notice.
  • You describe the material and its location before it was removed or disabled.
  • You state under penalty of perjury that you believe in good faith the material was removed or disabled by mistake or because it was misidentified.
  • You provide your name, address and phone number and your consent to jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for that address or any Federal District Court if the address is foreign.
  • You state you will accept service of process from the copyright owner.
Remember that counter-notices are reserved only for these circumstances:
  • You are certain you are using the material legally; or
  • You are certain the copyright owner has misidentified material you are using.

Security Alert!

Aside from copyright considerations, there are security aspects you might want to consider before opening up your computer for file sharing.

  • Peer-to-peer file sharing applications like KaZaA, iMesh, and Gnutella can render the private contents of your computer – your confidential data files, saved emails, financial records, etc. – vulnerable to exploitation. For this reason, IT strongly recommends against installing and using these applications. If you have a peer-to-peer file sharing program already installed, we recommend you remove it. At the very least, disable your peer-to-peer software’s uploading capability. To find out how, visit University Of Chicago Peer-To-Peer Site.
  • Also, unless it’s absolutely essential that other people be able to access non-copyrighted materials on your computer, we urge you to disable the general file sharing capabilities of your operating system. Computers that have file sharing turned on are tempting targets for hackers, who often exploit that feature to take over victims’ machines. Need help disabling file sharing on your computer? Check out the online Help features of your system or visit the web site of the operating system vendor (Microsoft, Apple, etc.) for more information.
  • Of course, just as you should avoid sharing your computer with everyone on the Internet, you should also prevent anyone else from using your machine or your computing accounts directly. Use a strong password, keep the password a closely-guarded secret, and turn off the computer when you’re not using it. To find out more about creating a strong password, visit the Mary Baldwin Acceptable Use Policy.

Shut the door on hackers and other computer vandals. Don’ t share your files