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Brown Library :: Policies

Copyright, Digital Copyright & Filesharing

Contact Dale Dulaney at 540-857-7438 or for additional information.

Copyright Information & Resources


All documents are in PDF format.

Tools You Can Use

  • Exceptions for Instructors in Copyright Law - free online tool to help instructors determine if their intended use of copyrighted material meets the requirements of copyright law. Created by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office of Information Technology in 2008.
  • Digital Copyright Slider - free online tool to help determine if a work is protected by copyright law. Created by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office of Information Technology in 2007.

Digital Copyright & File Sharing

Downloading or distributing copyrighted materials such as documents, movies, music, etc. without the permission of the rightful owner is considered copyright infringement and is illegal under federal copyright law. The information found on this site has been developed to help students and other college personnel understand copyright laws and policies as they relate to digital materials at Virginia Western. Our goal is to inform all students and personnel of the college's commitment to protecting lawful copyrights and ways you can protect yourself from being involved unwittingly in illegal activities. Under no circumstances should the college's network connections be used to violate copyright laws. Use of Virginia Western's network resources to commit acts of copyright infringement may be subject to prosecution and potential disciplinary actions.

Individuals who download music, movies, computer games, or software applications in violation of its copyright, are not only guilty of excessive bandwidth usage, they are also guilty of stealing. Sharing of these illegally downloaded materials also places others in jeopardy. Industry lawyers are beginning to target individuals who violate their copyrights - as evidenced by the recent lawsuit at Princeton University. Individuals who infringe may be liable to huge fines and possible jail time.

Safety Tips Regarding File Sharing

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

Peer-to-Peer (P2P): 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, VWCC 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.

OS File Sharing (Windows, Mac, Linux): 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.

Alternatives For Downloading Music & Movies

As evidenced by recent lawsuits, illegal downloading of music and movies can be extremely costly. Check out these links to some legal alternatives for downloading music/video.

Additional Resources

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Hours of Operation

Library Services
Mon-Thurs: 8AM-8PM
Fri: 8AM-5PM
Sat: 9AM-1PM

Contact Us

Library Services
(Top Floor - Brown Library)
Phone: 540-857-7303

3095 Colonial Ave. SW
Roanoke, VA 24015