Types of Copyright Infringement Notifications

Copyright holders and organizations that represent copyright holders, such as the RIAA and MPAA, typically send out three different types of communications related to copyright infringement:

  1. Cease and desist, or copyright infringement, notices – The purpose of these notices is to stop the illegal possession and distribution of copyrighted material. When Information Technology Services (ITS) receives these notices from copyright holders or their representatives, ITS contacts the user whose Internet Protocol (IP) address has been identified in the notice. ITS notifies the user that illegal copies of copyrighted materials must be destroyed.
  2. Pre-litigation notices – These letters are used by copyright holders and their representatives prior to filing a lawsuit to recover, by way of a settlement, financial damages caused by the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. If you have been identified as participating in the illegal downloading or uploading of copyrighted materials, you may receive one of these notices, even if you have already destroyed your copy (or copies) of the material(s) in question.
  3. Subpoenas – These notices indicate that the copyright holder has filed a lawsuit to recover damages for the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. If the court finds you liable, you will be subject to fines and penalties.

USC prohibits the use of its computing resources to conduct illegal activity. The university complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws and requires that users do the same. In receiving a USC computing account, users agree to obey the university’s computing policies and the laws referenced by these policies. Users are responsible for all activity that transpires through their computing accounts and the devices that are registered to them.

USC enforces its own policies and standards pertaining to the electronic communication environment. Regardless of whether a copyright holder pursues legal action, USC reserves the right to block access to the USC computing system and network for any member of the university community who repeatedly participates in behavior that is prohibited by the university’s computing policies.