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Dear Wooster Students,

Welcome to Wooster’s 143rd academic year!

With the start of a new academic year also come many notes and reminders, both official and unofficial, about College policies and procedures. Each year, we are required by the U.S. Department of Education to inform you about our policies regarding responsible use of Wooster’s technology resources, and in particular, the risks of acquiring and sharing copyrighted materials without the appropriate permissions.

“Copyrighted materials” is the U.S. Department of Education’s official term for music, video, and other media files.

We are required to tell you that:

  1. Unauthorized acquisition and distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized file sharing and attempts to modify College systems to permit such activities, are considered a violation of The Wooster Ethic and the College’s "Acceptable Use" policy. If it has been determined that you have acquired or distributed copyrighted music, video or other media files, or tampered with or modified College systems to do so or attempt to do so, you will be subject to College disciplinary procedures and sanctions. In addition, such unauthorized acquisition and distribution of copyrighted materials may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities; and that
  2. Possible College sanctions include: loss of access to College technology services, including network and Internet access; community service; one or more educational projects; restitution; conduct probation; recorded disciplinary probation and loss of participation privileges; holding an office in any student organization; College housing sanctions; removal from the campus, except for classes, for a stated period of time; suspension; or expulsion from the College. Students who work within the Information Technology division may be terminated from their positions; and that
  3. The U.S. Department of Education has advised colleges and universities that penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

[ Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws, U.S. Department of Education, June 4, 2010 ]

We encourage you to review The Wooster Ethic and the “Acceptable Use” of Technology Resources policy.

If you are seeking to access and download media files, there are legal alternatives for doing so. A list of resources may be found on the Educause website, at

Should you have any questions about the College’s policy or the regulations, please contact either of us.

Welcome back and our best wishes for a productive and successful academic year.

Kurt C. Holmes
Dean of Students

Ellen F. Falduto
Chief Information & Planning Officer

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