Copyright at MIT






MIT Infringement Policy


Civil and Criminal Liabilities

DMCA Notifications

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing




If You Receive a DMCA Notification (Takedown Notice)

MIT routinely receives DMCA complaints (mostly in the form of notifications known as Takedown Notices) via email addressed to the DMCA agent. Most of the complaints involve music, and the rest involve movies, TV shows or software.

Takedown Notices ask the ISP (Internet Service Provider = here MIT) to remove or disable access to the infringing files from a computer. The notices indicate the file name, the date and time of the alleged infringement (also known as timestamp), and the IP address of the computer where the activity took place. When records are available, MIT matches the IP address to the registrant of the computer and forwards the notices along with instructions.

If you receive a DMCA Takedown Notice, you should immediately take the following steps:

  1. Remove the works cited in the notice and any other copyrighted material for which there is no explicit permission from the copyright holder to possess (not simply those files listed in the notice). A good rule of thumb to follow is: If you didn't pay for it, you shouldn't have it on your computer.
  2. Disable file sharing of any copyrighted material for which there is no explicit permission from the copyright holder to redistribute.
  3. Respond to DMCA agent ( when the copyright infringement has been halted.

It is advised to not:

  1. Ignore the notice.
  2. Contact the company directly. They do not need to know who you are and may be confused about whom to contact in the future.
  3. Pay any fines or fees that may be listed in the notice that claim to offer a way for you to "settle." Settlement requests are a scare-tactic of some companies.

Additional things to consider:

  • If the materials are removed and you have not previously engaged in unauthorized use of copyrighted material, the case is quickly resolved by removal of the unauthorized material.
  • For repeat infringers, MIT may file disciplinary complaints with the Office of Student Citizenship, the department of Human Resources, or the Provost's Office, as appropriate.
  • Be sure to read the entire notice of infringement. You will find this attached at the end of your email from the DMCA agent.
  • Read the notice even if you don't believe your computer is in violation.
  • For music and movie files, you may be using peer-to-peer (p2p) sharing software, such as BitTorrent, KaZaA, or Gnutella. If you do have the rights to use the files, you most likely do not have the right to share the files with the world and should disable sharing immediately. Remove all infringing material from the shared folder before re-enabling sharing.

Learn more about MIT's policy regarding copyright infringement and what the consequences are if you are determined to have violated DMCA.

Filing a Copyright Infringement Notification

If you expect copyright infringement has occurred at MIT, pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, electronic notifications about the unauthorized online use of copyrighted materials should be sent by email to

If you do not include an electronic signature with your claim, you may be asked to send or fax a follow-up copy with a signature. To file the notification, you must be either the copyright owner of the work or an individual authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.

Notification must include:

  • Identification of the copyrighted work, or, in the case of multiple works at the same location, a representative list of such works at that site.
  • Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity. You must include sufficient information for us to locate the material (e.g., url, ip address, computer name).
  • Information for us to be able to contact the complaining party (e.g., email address, phone number).
  • A statement that the complaining party believes that the use of the material has not been authorized by the copyright owner or an authorized agent.
  • A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
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