The Internet can be a gateway to finding research, connecting with others, and getting academic assistance. However, the Internet is also full of people who try to exploit unsuspecting or desperate users. These exploits commonly include the gathering of personal information and/or tricking users into downloading and installing malware on to their devices. The details below will help you familiarize yourself with some of the dangers that come from illegal downloading.

About Copyright

When a book, movie or song is produced and marketed, everyone involved in the process has monetary gains from the sale of that product. Therefore, that product is protected by copyright law so that it cannot be copied, reproduced or resold without permission. If you did not pay for a file that has a copyright, then downloading that file is a crime. Likewise, distributing a copyrighted media file, whether via electronic or non-electronic methods, without the express permission of the copyright holder is also illegal.

Who’s Watching?

Large artist organizations such as the RIAA and the MPAA routinely bring copyright infringement lawsuits in attempts to dissuade the public from downloading copyrighted material and violating copyright laws. When WPI receives a copyright infringement notification, IT quickly identifies the user(s) and an Acceptable Use Policy Violation is issued.

Consequences of Illegal Downloading

Besides the disciplinary actions taken by WPI there can also be legal action taken by the RIAA and or MPAA. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, distribution of copyright materials is punishable by law.

Dangers of Illegal Downloading

Not only are there legal ramifications to illegally downloading copyrighted materials but there are also dangers of infecting your devices with the spyware, adware, malware and ransomware that are often added to these files. Unknowingly you could be losing access to your data, giving up access to your financial institutions or even identity theft.


Additional information is linked in Actions.