The internet provides a very conventient way for accessing the likes of music, films and software.
However don't assume that this material is legal and free just because you can download it!
You may find you're trying to access illegal material (generally known as pirated), such material comes about due to there being no general controls that ensure that only legal information is published via the Internet. Hence the material you're trying to access may be protected by a number of legal means e.g. Copyright or Intellectual Property, the exact laws vary from Country to Country. At Aston Univeristy we must respect UK law, any "infringements" will be investigated and acted upon.
Many of us are already familiar with the idea that music, films and softare is protected and that we have to pay for access and should not make copies for others. At the cinema you can pay to enter but there is generally a warning not to copy films , at a concert you can again pay to enter but will be warned not to record performances and many software packages don't work unless you have bought an authorisation code and this will warn not to copy.
The need to buy protected works from proper sources also applies if it is accessed over the internet.Likewise you should not copy and make material available over the internet to others that you do not have the right to. Ignoring these rules can result in legal action.
In recognition of the difficulties of controling the publication of protected works, the industry is trying to develop and promote low cost or free access to music and films. Many of these approaches are supported through advertising, some of these are listed below.
What is copyright infringement ?
Movies, music, software and other materials are normally protected by copyright. A failure to respect the legal copyright obligations is called an infringement.
Infringing copyright is illegal and the University is clear in its policies that it does not condone such action.
If I choose to ignore this advice….What can happen to me?
The Police, Trading Standards and FACT (the Federation Against Copyright Theft) actively track people illegally downloading and distributing copyright protected material; there have been several high-profile convictions.We work closely with the organisations mentioned to find those downloading protected material.
All violations of University policies - such as the Regulations for the use of University ICT Facilities can result in disciplinary action.
As copyright infringement is a legal issue, copyright holders may take legal action against anyone who infringes their rights.
Before you download any material off the internet, ask yourself these questions:
Would I normally have to pay for it?
Is it available to buy?
Does it have a copyright sign issued by the production company?
Is it a mainstream title?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then it is illegal to download it without paying.