What is copyright infringement?
As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner." - http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html
Both the federal law and the Connecticut State University System's Student Code of Conduct policy specifically prohibit copyright infringement. Each imposes significant penalties for doing so.
It is important to note the following:
Recognizing the author of a specific statement such as footnoting or attributing authorship of material is not the same as getting permission from the copyright owner to reproduce the material. Even with such recognition, copyright infringement can occur.
Students are subject to federal and state laws in addition to University policies. University disciplinary processes do not exempt a student from federal and state civil and criminal processes.
You are responsible for any copyright violations that occur from your computers address. A friend or roommate using your computer for illegal activities can place you in jeopardy.
Even if you have legally purchased copyrighted material such as a song, it is still illegal to share your copy of the song with others unless you have the copyright holders permission to do so.
What are the Consequences of Copyright Infringement?
In the case of Federal law, several possible consequences for copyright infringement have been specified. Content owners are entitled to actual or statutory damages when copyright infringement occurs. They are entitled to recover actual damages and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the copyright infringement. Or they may choose to recover statutory damages within a range of $750.00 - $30,000.00 per infringement. In the event that the copyright owner proves that you willfully (with knowledge of the existence of a copyright) committed an infringement, the court may award damages as high as $150,000.00 per infringement.
The Connecticut State University System's Student Code of Conduct and Statement of Student Conduct Procedures Policy on Student Use of University Computer Systems and Networks includes "...unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted materials..." as a prohibited conduct subject to disciplinary sanctions (Part III, Section 22). Possible sanctions are any of the following or any combination of the following: expulsion, suspension, disciplinary probation, disciplinary warning, residence hall separation, residence hall probation and residence hall warning (Part V). The Code specifies the Student Conduct procedures that will be used to determine sanctions.