Compliance with HEOA Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) is a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. These provisions include requirements that:
- Institutions make an annual disclosure that informs students that illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes steps the institution takes to detect and punish illegal distribution activities.
- Institutions certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed plans to "effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
- Institutions, “to the extent practicable,”offer alternatives to illegal file sharing.
- Institutions identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.
This document outlines UST’s plans to comply with these requirements.
UST views education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials by students. It uses a wide variety of methods to inform the campus community about the law and UST's response to copyright infringement claims:
- All users must acknowledge and agree to abide by UST's Responsible Use Policy which covers illegal distribution of copyrighted materials and inappropriate use of the network. All users must reaffirm this policy when they access the UST residential and wireless networks.
- Every year, UST will send an email to all students regarding illegal distribution of copyrighted materials and peer-to-peer software. This notice will be posted on the Web and linked to from the copyright section of the UST web page.
- Computing support staff are regularly trained on UST's position with respect to copyright issues.
- IRT periodically briefs relevant governance bodies and the campus community on policy related topics.
- UST's policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its response to infringement claims are published on the Web.
Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
Consistent with the HEOA regulations, UST maintains a vigorous program of accepting and responding to all Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices. In addition, UST currently uses a technology deterrent to shape bandwidth on the wireless and residence hall networks. This appliance is configured to place a high priority on educational uses of the network. Finally, UST employs tools to monitor network traffic. If a system is found to be using excessive bandwidth, the owner will be contacted to confirm that the bandwidth consumption is for valid university purposes and that the user is aware of campus policies.
Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing
UST's DMCA procedures and copyright infringement violation notice include a link to the list of legal alternatives for obtaining music, videos, and other digital content maintained by Educause. The link will be included in the annual notice to students and other UST web locations as appropriate.
These steps will be reviewed annually and revised as necessary to remain in compliance. The review will assess the overall effectiveness of UST's plan based on the number of DMCA notices received relative to the number of infringement capable devices, number of repeat offenders per year, results of traffic shaping and monitoring, and feedback from users. Any changes will take effect at the commencement of the following academic year.