Santa Clara University

New Student Orientation - DMCA Overview

Why is it important to understand the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

Notices to Santa Clara University of alleged DMCA violations dramatically impacts the lives of students. Santa Clara University wants to educate the campus community about the consequences of file sharing and how to prevent violations.

DMCA Defined

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet (

 File Sharing at SCU

The sharing of copyrighted materials (music, videos, programs, other copyrighted materials) is illegal according to the DMCA and it is a violation of SCU policy. File sharing at SCU may even lead to a lawsuit from copyright holders or their agents.

Violating the DMCA may lead to sanctions from SCU including, but not limited to, loss of network access for extended periods, and may involve fees to have network access restored.


  • I'm copying files from a CD/DVD I own. Is that legal? It is legal to do this for personal use such as loading music on a music player. You cannot share files with other people, even if you own the CD/DVD because you do not own the copyright.
  • I bought this music/video from iTunes/Amazon/etc. Can it be shared? Sharing music or video you've paid for and downloaded from a service such as iTunes or Amazon may be allowed, but usually for a limited number of users. See the rules of the vendor you bought the media from.
  • I've been paying for this peer-to-peer (P2P) service that lets me download and share media. Since I'm paying for it, isn't it legal? Paying for a peer-to-peer file-sharing program does not necessarily make it legal to acquire or share music or video files using that program.
  • I'm not sharing/downloading entire albums worth of music, just a few of my favorites. Can I still get in trouble? Having only a few songs or videos or programs you downloaded or make available for sharing does not decrease your chances for having a notice filed against you. All it takes is one violation, which may lead to University sanctions or even a lawsuit.
  • One of my friends gave me music/video that was made by someone s/he knows. Can I share their stuff? Some music or video files can be made available for download by the copyright holder (e.g., from a band?s web site) but that does not necessarily make it legal to share them. Check with the copyright holder about any restrictions that may have been imposed.

New Student Orientation - DMCA Overview
Santa Clara University - DMCA Agreement

Please answer the following questions. An asterisk indicates a required field and image text is required for security purposes. Hit 'Finish' to complete the process.

First Name*

Last Name*

SCU e-mail address*

If you own a CD or DVD, you may legally share those files with family and friends.*

True    False    

So long as you are a student on campus, you cannot be sued by the RIAA or any other copyright holder for sharing or downloading files.*

True    False    

It is legal for me to make copies of music/video that I have bought to put on my music player or to keep as a backup.*

True    False    

I have read and understand all of the above material. I agree that I will not illegally share or download files using the Santa Clara University network.*


I would like more information on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).*

Please select one response
Yes    No