Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011

On 1 September 2011 the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Act 2011 came into force.

This legislation has significant implications for staff and students of the University. The downloading of infringing content by staff and students is a breach of the Act and exposes both the University and the individual to potential liability.

Most materials available on the internet are protected by "copyright". You must not download material from the Internet which is protected by copyright unless it is permitted under either the fair dealing provisions of the Act or a licence such as a creative commons licence. The University has also entered into a number of copyright licences the terms of which permit staff members to download material for the University's educational purposes. Further information on materials staff can download from the Internet for teaching purposes is available from the Copyright Section of the Waikato website.

The University of Waikato does not permit the use of file sharing applications other than for legitimate educational or administrative purposes. Examples of file sharing software are: Shareaza, BitTorrent, Ares, Kazaa, Limewire, BearShare and eMule. Inadvertent infringing file sharing may occur if you have a file sharing application running on your personal device and connect to the University's ICT network. If you are using file sharing applications you must ensure the use will not breach copyright.

In compliance with the legislation, the University will notify the relevant staff member or student of complaints received from rights owners. Most complaints involve downloading pirated movies, software, games and television shows posted on the Internet without the permission of the copyright owners. Those notified will be asked to provide an explanation and may have their access to the network temporarily removed. A staff member or student who receives three separate notices from the same rights owner may be required to appear before the Copyright Tribunal which can impose a penalty of up to $15,000.

The University will continue to monitor its network for evidence of possible infringing file sharing. The University may take disciplinary action against staff and students who download infringing material. Such action may include exclusion of a user from the system for a specified period or formal disciplinary action. The range of possible penalties are provided for under the Computer System Regulations, Staff Code of Conduct and Student Discipline Regulations. Serious repeat infringements could result in the termination of employment in the case of staff or termination of enrolment in the case of students.

Further information on the legislation can be found on the Ministry of Economic Development website.