Copyright Law

University policies regarding Copyright are guided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (October 1998), the No Electronic Theft Act (LaMacchia Bill, full text of the Act located on file with the Library of Congress), and the Copyright Act of 1976 (as amended, 1994). Texas State policies demonstrate the university’s commitment to compliance with the requirements of various federal copyright laws, and the associated legal responsibilities of the University in this regard. This page gives gives detailed information regarding copyright law and policy.

copyright law vector

Copyright Office

The University Copyright Office is part of the University Library and serves as the centralized point for all matters concerning copyright.

Digital Copyright, P2P, and File Sharing

Texas State’s Appropriate Use and Ownership and Use of Copyrighted Works policies prohibit the use of the Texas State network for the unauthorized duplication, use, or distribution of copyrighted digital materials, regardless of the method employed (e.g., web pages, peer-to-peer or "P2P" file sharing, email, etc). You must have fair use rights or authorization from the copyright holder for any material you use, make available, or share over the campus network.

The University considers unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing of copyrighted music and videos to be an inappropriate use of its network resources.  Users who engage in copyright infringement using the University’s network risk the loss of network access privileges. Repeat offenders risk additional disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or discharge. Moreover, unauthorized P2P file sharing of copyrighted materials is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and exposes the perpetrator to serious civil and criminal penalties. 

Frequently Asked Copyright Questions

Information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for information and educational purposes only. Every situation is unique and you are encouraged to consult an attorney if you need specific legal advice. 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other content owners work to stop unauthorized downloading, copying, and sharing of music and video. They monitor the Internet continually to identify Internet Protocol (IP) addresses engaged in these activities, but they require assistance from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to communicate with an alleged infringer. They generally seek the ISP’s help in delivering notices of infringement and removing content from the web that is not authorized for publication. 

  • When a content owner determines that an IP address has been used to violate its copyright, it sends a Takedown Notice to the applicable Internet Service Provider (ISP) describing the IP address, date, time, and material involved in the alleged infringement. The notice requests that the ISP remove or disable access to the listed material under the terms of the DMCA.    

    When Texas State receives such a Takedown Notice, it reviews its network activity records to independently validate the legitimacy of the complaint.  If the complaint appears valid, the University takes authorized action and removes the infringing device from the network, and take other actions as necessary.

    The computer will not be permitted to reconnect to the campus network until the owner can demonstrate to staff in the Information Technology Assistance Center (ITAC) that all infringing material and software has been removed. There are several ways to accomplish this task and you may wish to contact the ITAC at 512-245-4822 for the one that works best for you. 

  • Takedown Notices specifically require users to remove allegedly infringing material, whereas a Preservation Request seeks the exact opposite – that users do not do anything that would remove, alter, or destroy the evidence of infringement on your computer.

    Texas State’s practice is to first determine if the information provided in a Preservation Request may be sufficient to implicate a specific user. Texas State will not release a user’s identifying information in response to a Preservation Request unless and until the Request is accompanied or followed by a lawfully issued subpoena. If a user receives a request or a subpoena for content on the TXST network, please contact the TSUS Office of General Counsel so that they may take over and handle the matter legally and appropriately. 

  • Texas State University does not routinely monitor the content of network transmissions, except, as necessary, to identify and repel network attacks, viruses, worms, and other malware. However, many P2P networks are used almost exclusively for illegal file sharing and are also favorite channels for spreading malware due to their popularity and pervasiveness.

    To mitigate these threats, the University employs various methods to block illegitimate P2P network traffic. Note, however, that these methods may not be 100% effective and not all P2P traffic is blocked at all times. All users should assume that P2P file sharing activity on the campus network is visible to content owners that monitor the Internet for copyright infringement activity."


  • There are many legal options available to enjoy media, including many streaming platforms. Before signing up for any service, including streaming platforms, carefully read the site's privacy policy and terms of service statements to be sure that the service is authorized to distribute the material that it makes available to you. Buying a license for file-sharing software, access to a streaming platform, or even a physical copy of media may not necessarily give you legal permission to use, copy, and/or redistribute that media.

    • Also consider reviewing the media available to you as an affiliate of Texas State University at the Alkek Library.
    • Use this list of popular, legal, fee-based and free alternatives is available through EDUCAUSE: 
      • Important Note: Before signing up for any digital music or video service, carefully read the site’s privacy policy and/or terms of use statement to be sure that the service is authorized to distribute the material that it makes available to you. Both free and fee-based software may utilize unauthorized distribution channels for copyrighted material. Buying a license to file sharing software does not necessarily give you legal access to the music it makes available, and it almost never allows you to further distribute that music.

Copyright Research Guide

The University Library provides a copyright research guide to help faculty, staff, and students get basic information about copyright law and fair use policies.