Copyright laws were developed in the United States as a means of encouraging "progress of science and the useful arts." Copyright laws grant the creator (or the owner of the copyright) the rights, within the limits of fair use, to do with their work what they please. The intention is that by creating a financial incentive for a limited time, creators will have a motive for producing more works which will enrich the public.

Copyright Concerns
Duke University complies with the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). If you have a concern regarding the use of copyrighted material on any site on the Duke University network, please contact the agent designated to respond to reports alleging copyright infringement:

Nick Tripp
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Agent
300 Fuller Street
Box 104100
Durham, NC  27708

E-mail (preferred):
Voice: 919.684.8121

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act specifies that all infringement claims must be in writing (either electronic mail or paper letter) and must include the following elements:

  • a physical or electronic signature;
  • identification of the infringed work;
  • identification of the infringed material;
  • contact information for the complainant, e.g. address, telephone number, electronic mail address;
  • a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner or the law; and
  • a statement that the information contained in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.

To learn more about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), visit or review the Copyright FAQs below.

Copyright owners currently scan peer to peer file-sharing networks in order to try to find individuals distributing (what they believe to be) their copyrighted material. When they find such material, they locate the IP address of the computer distributing it and send email to the appropriate internet service provider. Duke occasionally receives such messages. We then attempt to locate the user of that computer at the time the alleged copyright infringement occurred, forward the notice to that individual and wait for a response. When we've received a response, we respond to the copyright owner that "the user" of the computer has been notified.

Duke's policy is to never reveal the name of a user unless legally compelled. There have been cases (even at Duke) in which a notice of alleged copyright infringement was mistaken. There are several ways that this can occur, including the notice referencing non-copyrighted files. In such cases, the user receiving the notice should contact the IT security office to correct the matter.

Copyright FAQs

There are no FAQ items to show.