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It might be hard to believe that you can really get in trouble for illegally downloading computer software while you’re at college. But it’s true.

Every year, most colleges receive hundreds of cease-and-desist notices telling them that someone on their network has been copying copyrighted files. The notices come from anti-piracy investigators who troll file-sharing networks looking for lawbreakers. And federal law requires that the college send these notices on to the students involved.

How do they know who’s involved? The notices contain the Internet address of each suspected offender and list the exact second when every download occurred. With that information, your college network administrator can track you down and let you know you’ve been caught.

This is usually when you find out that college life is not as carefree as you thought. There are rules on campus, just like in the real world, and when you break the rules, you can be in real trouble.

Read all about it in this special edition of The Pirate, a round-up of stories about copyright violations on campuses across the country. All the stories are true, though they’ve been edited for length and changed in places to save everyone embarrassment. You can check out the facts for yourself, however, by clicking the links provided.*

News You Can Use

Every college and university has a policy prohibiting use of its computer network for software piracy. Check the policy at your school and obey it. Otherwise, you could be:

  • Locked Out of your school network for weeks, for a whole semester, or even for good.
  • Hauled In for a campus hearing and put on probation, kicked off campus, or even expelled.
  • Turned Over for legal action that could cost you and your family thousands of dollars or even lead to jail time.

* Note: News stories are often retired from the Web after a few weeks or months, and therefore may no longer be accessible through the links provided.

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