Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Harvard University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of the Harvard network for the vital educational and research purposes for which it was designed and prohibits the use of its network to violate the law, including the U.S. Copyright Act. The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, violates the Copyright Act and may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities.

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 ten years and a fine of $250,000 for an individual. For more information, visit the U.S. Copyright Office.

Harvard complies fully with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (pdf) (“DMCA”). Users of the Harvard network found to have engaged in repeated infringement of copyright are subject to termination of their network access and may be reported to the appropriate Dean or Human Resources officer for disciplinary action. For more information review Harvard’s policy or the U.S. Copyright Office FAQs.

A paper copy of this notice is available upon request by contacting

At a Glance

  • Do not use peer-to-peer file-sharing programs to share copyrighted works without permission.

  • If you share copyrighted material without permission, you may subject yourself to significant costs and possible criminal penalties.

  • If you are associated with repeat infringements, Harvard University may terminate your network access and refer you for disciplinary action.