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Copyright at UVa: Employees

Copyright Matters

This site has been set up to help you understand copyright laws and policies as they apply to digital materials here at UVa in your role as a staff member or faculty. We're here to tell you about the University'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.

UVa 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 using lots of bandwidth—you're stealing. If you share those copyrighted materials with others, you're helping them to steal, too.

Industry lawyers target individuals who violate their copyrights—as evidenced by past lawsuits.

When a copyright holder (or its agent) discovers what it believes to be a copyright infringement on a computer (or device) on the UVa network, it triggers the following chain of events.

The copyright holder or its agent sends a violation notice to the University administration. (view a sample violation notice.)  The University generally does not monitor the network for content and does not itself generate copyright violation notices to its network users. However, given receipt of this notification, the University will undertake an internal investigation to determine whether its network has been used in a manner inconsistent with law or the University's Respect for Copyrights of Digital Materials and Software Policy and take appropriate action, if necessary.

The employee identified in this investigation will receive an email notifying him of the alleged copyright infringement. A copy of this message is also emailed to the department head to make the department head aware of the copyright infringement complaint received and federal laws and University policies allegedly violated. In addition, two staff members in University Human Relations (UHR) are also copied on the email to the employee.

To satisfy the requiremen​ts of the DMCA and UVa policy, if you receive a DMCA take-down notice (AKA copyright complaint):

  1. You must delete the file(s), song, movie, etc., unless it was obtained legally. If you got it by illegal download, copying from someone else's DVD, etc., then delete it.
  2. We strongly recommend you remove or disable the file sharing software on your computer (also called "torrent" software). For assistance, please consult: Resources for Controlling Peer-to-Peer (P2P File Sharing Applications You can also, for free, contact the UVa Help Desk at: 434-924-HELP or UVa Help Desk Web Consult Page
  3. Last but not least,we will forward the DMCA copyright complaint we receive from the copyright holder to you for your response. You must REPLY within one business days to the email we sent you with this statement written out: "I have ceased the unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material from my computer."
    Note: You should only reply to us,, not to the copyright holder or agent.
  4. If you don't reply back within one (1) business day, your computer's UVa network access will be blocked. When you open a web browser (e.g, Internet Explorer (IE) or Firefox) you will be re-directed to a Network Registration Block webpage where you can resolve the issue by attesting that you have followed the steps above AND ceased the unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material. Your computer will automatically be re-connected to the UVa network within 5 to 60 minutes.

Please be aware that regardless of what UVa does, the copyright holder may still pursue additional legal remedies.

While it may well be that you were unaware that the activity is illegal - or that someone else has used security vulnerabilities on your computer to conduct illegal activity without your knowledge - you are still responsible for how your computer is used. If you need some guidance on how to secure your machine against hackers and other threats, visit our information security site at and follow the link for users of personal computers.


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 computer (network device) has been disabled. It is highly unlikely that you should file a counter-notification. To do so, you must reply to the UVa email you received and show us you have completed the steps detailed in the DMCA counter-notification webpage.

To catch a thief...

Wonder how the copyright holder catches alleged illegal file sharers (pirates)? Read the article from the May 2008 Chronicle of Higher Education at: How the RIAA Catches Alleged Music Pirates


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