Mickey, an enterprising student at Acme Community College, realizes at the last minute that he has neglected to complete an assignment that is due tomorrow in his jazz history class: to listen to, and describe the influence of, several classic recordings by Duke Ellington. The class instructor had placed the recordings on reserve in the Acme media center, where the students could easily listen to them at their leisure.
Instead of listening to the recordings at Acme, however, Mickey chooses instead to download original versions of "Sophisticated Lady," "Mood Indigo," and "Take the 'A' Train" from an illegal music file sharing site off the Internet. He does this at a terminal late at night in the Acme computer commons, thinking that he'll never get caught and--since Duke Ellington has been dead for nearly thirty years--there's nobody left to complain.
Is Mickey correct?
No. Mickey's downloading of the music was in violation of copyright law.
Mickey was not safe in assuming that a work is not protected by copyright simply because the composer or performer of a musical work is no longer living. Moreover, not only did his actions violate copyright law, they also violated Acme's computing resource standards which--like those of the Maricopa Community Colleges--prohibit the use of software or "any other tangible form of expression that would violate or infringe any copyright or similar legally-recognized protection of intellectual property rights." Violation of such a policy makes him subject to discipline under Acme's student code of conduct.
Page Updated 11/18/04