REG 01.25.02 – Copyright Infringement – Policy Statement

Authority: Issued by the Chancellor. Changes or exceptions to administrative regulations issued by the Chancellor may only be made by the Chancellor. 

History: First Issued: June 10, 1999. Last Revised: February 7, 2023.

Related Policies: 
NCSU POL08.00.01 – Computer Use Policy 

NCSU REG01.25.03 – Copyright Regulation – Copyright Implementation Pursuant to Copyright Use and Ownership Policy of the University of North Carolina

Contact Info: Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (919-515-2117); Director, Open Knowledge Center, NC State University Libraries (919-513-2416).


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act amends federal copyright law to provide certain liability protections for online service providers, including NC State University, when their computer systems or networks carry materials that violate (infringe) copyright law.  To qualify for liability protection, the university is required to have a policy under which the computer accounts of users will be terminated if they repeatedly infringe the copyrighted works of others.


Compliance with federal copyright law is expected of all students, faculty and staff at North Carolina State University.  “Copyright” is legal protection for creative intellectual works, which is broadly interpreted to cover just about any expression of an idea.  Text (including email and web information), graphics, art, photographs, music, and software are examples of types of work protected by copyright.  The creator of the work, or sometimes the person who hired the creator, is the initial copyright owner.

You may “use” all or part of a copyrighted work only if (a) you have the copyright owner’s permission, or (b) you qualify for a legal exception (the most common exception is called “fair use”).  “Use” of a work is defined for copyright purposes as copying, distributing, making derivative works, publicly displaying, or publicly performing the work.

Copying, distributing, downloading, and uploading information on the Internet may infringe the copyright for that information.  Even an innocent, unintentional infringement violates the law.  Violations of copyright law that occur on or over the university’s networks or other computer resources may create liability for the university as well as the computer user.  Accordingly, repeat infringers will have their computer account and other access privileges terminated by NC State.