Downloading music

The music and movie industry is likely to increasingly pressure colleges and students not to violate their copyright rights. In the process they will almost certainly try to violate other people's rights. Fundamentally, the college believes that enforcing copyright laws is a law enforcement issue—Gustavus is not the copyright police.

However, we do want to make sure that you know that there are many ways to obtain music online. Some are legal and some are not.

Legal ways

There are several legal ways to download music. If you want to put the music on your iPod or play music on an Apple computer, you can purchase music from iTunes. If you would like help doing either of these, please call the Technology Helpline at x6111 or e-mail

Illegal ways

Downloading most music from unauthorized sources such as peer to peer networks like Limewire or Kazaa is illegal and if you are caught and proven guilty in court, you could be subject to civil and criminal penalties. If the place you are downloading music from doesn't have agreements with the RIAA or the individual artists, it probably isn't legal—even if you pay for it. If you have any questions about whether a particular site or program is legal, please call us and we would be happy to help. The penalties can be enormous if you are found to have violated copyright law—as much as $150,000 per song. In practice, most college students settle out of court for a few thousand dollars.

Gustavus network

Gustavus does not police its network for copyright infringement. If a copyright holder notifies us that a student is violating their copyright, we will remove that student's computer from the network until we can contact the student and make sure they know they are sharing music and know how to stop doing so. If a student is repeatedly reported to have violated copyright laws, we will refer the issue to the judicial board so that they may decide what the appropriate action to take is. We will not give the identity of the owner of the computer to the copyright holder or law enforcement without a valid subpoena.

The Internet is a vast resource for entertainment, please use it responsibly.

Contact us

Please contact the Technology Helpline at 507-933-6111, or complete our contact form.