How Recipients of the Notifications Are Identified
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copyright holders send complaints regarding file sharing of copyrighted material to firstname.lastname@example.org. These complaints contain three important pieces of information:
- Time and the date of the alleged file sharing event
- Name of the copyrighted material
- IP (network) address tied to the complaint
Once the complaint is received, U-M checks to see whose uniqname is registered to the IP address(es) that allegedly have been found to be infringing on copyrighted materials. If U-M is able to identify an individual, notification of the alleged infringement is sent to that person.
What To Do If You Receive a DMCA Notification
Follow the instructions in the notification and stop the illegal filesharing.
- Uninstall file-sharing or peer-to-peer software. See instructions provided by Cornell University: How to Uninstall Filesharing Software. Learn more about the hazards of P2P file-sharing software.
- Discontinue use of streaming websites that provide unauthorized access to copyrighted material.
- Remove any illegal files from your device(s).
If Your Notification Contains a Pre-Litigation Settlement Offer
Some copyright holders (or their agents) send a pre-litigation settlement offer instead of a standard complaint asking for the removal of alleged infringing material. This offer notifies alleged violators that they may be sued and gives them an option to pay a settlement sum before a lawsuit is filed. These offers typically contain an ID and password for a website. There, for a fee, the alleged file sharer can pay and avoid being sued by the copyright holder.
- Alleged violators who do not settle may face a lawsuit and the risk of a substantial court judgment or a more costly settlement, including paying for the legal fees of the copyright holder.
- We advise that individuals who receive a pre-litigation settlement offer contact a lawyer. Students may contact Student Legal Services for free guidance.
If You Continue to Violate Copyright
The university has a tiered escalation process based on the number of complaints received for an individual:
- First alleged offense. An email notice is sent to asking you to stop engaging in the file sharing of copyrighted materials and to delete the infringing content.
- Second alleged offense. An email notice is sent repeating that request and asking you to take an online copyright compliance quiz that provides education about copyright compliance.
- Third alleged offense or failure to take the quiz. A notice and formal complaint are lodged with the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. Repeated violations may result in sanctions imposed by that office.
Questions? Need Help?
The university is committed to providing as much support and assistance as possible to members of the U-M community who are interested in taking steps to protect themselves from potential legal action as a result of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing or other digital copyright violations.