This article serves as UST’s annual notice to students regarding peer-to-peer file sharing policies and procedures as required by the recently updated Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

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.

UST maintains a process for acting on all Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints that are received. Illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject students to criminal and civil penalties.

For a list of legal alternatives for obtaining music, videos, and other digital content see the following link, which is maintained by EduCAUSE: www.educause.edu/legalcontent.

For more detailed information on UST’s copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing policies and procedures, and a FAQ, see www.stthomas.edu/copyright.