Copyright Infringement Notification

You have been directed to this page because your computer has been blocked from accessing Cal Poly's wireless network. A block is placed when the university is notified that a user and/or their computer is engaged in activity that poses a threat to other users or systems or the university is required by policy or law to terminate access.

Although your personal computer has been blocked on the wireless network, your campus accounts are still active and you can still access campus services via the My Cal Poly portal using available computers in the University Union, the Learning Commons in the library, or a college or departmental lab.

Please review the information below to understand why your access has been blocked, the potential consquences, and what actions must be taken before your access can be restored. If you have any questions or concerns, contact

Why Has My Wireless Access Been Blocked?

Your access was blocked because Cal Poly's designated agent received a notice of copyright infringement and traced it to your computer based on the IP address and the date and time the infringement occured. A copy of the complaint listing the infringing content and distribution software is being sent to your Cal Poly email account. Using campus resources to share copyrighted material such as software, music or movies, whether purchased or illegally downloaded, is a violation of Federal copyright law and university policy.

While Cal Poly does not actively search for instances of copyright infringement, the university is required by policy and law to respond to valid complaints of illegal activity or inappropriate use occuring on its network. Copyright owners and their agents, such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), actively search for copyright infringement of their works and send notices to Cal Poly in accordance with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Potential Consequences

If this is your first offense, the incident will be documented and closed. Repeat infringers will be referred to the appropriate university authority for further action in accordance with campus policies and procedures. In addition to the above, inappropriate use of information technology resources may result in personal civil and criminal penalties and other administrative liability. Finally, under the DMCA, the claimant may pursue a subpoena to obtain the identity of the system user and may file a lawsuit against the user.


Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the U.S. Copyright Office Web site, especially their FAQs.

Actions Required to Restore Network Access

Before network access can be restored, you must complete each of the following steps:

  1. Delete the infringing content, e.g., the music or movie files or other content, specified in the complaint. If the material was obtained without permission, you are advised to delete all copies in your possession.
  2. Disable or remove the software that is being used to illegally share copyright materials. This includes peer-to-peer (P2P) applications such as BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, Ares, etc. The email notice identifies the P2P protocol responsible for the infringement. You can find instructions on how to disable and/or remove commonly used P2P applications at these sites:
  3. Review Cal Poly's Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources Policy which you acknowledged and agreed to abide by when you received your Cal Poly username and each time you change your Cal Poly password.
  4. Review the following sites to understand why downloading copyright materials without permission is illegal, to learn more about the dangers of peer-to-peer software, and to find legal alternatives for downloading digital content such as music and movies:
  5. Send an email to confirming that you have complied with Steps 1 through 4 and to request removal of the block. Please reference the case number (CP#) in the subject line or message body.

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