Copyright Law & UST

The University of St. Thomas respects the rights of the owners of intellectual property and seeks to comply fully with U.S. copyright law. Ultimately, the users of copyrighted works are responsible for making their own decisions on the appropriate use of materials.

Copyright Law

The basis for U.S. copyright law is found in the U. S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8):

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

Congress has operationalized copyright law in Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

Other Acts that address the use of copyright in educational settings:

One provision of the DMCA relates to the limitation of liability for online service providers. The University of St. Thomas is an online service provider under the definition in this act and has elected to take advantage of this limitation of liability. We are required under the DMCA to appoint an agent to receive notification of claimed infringement from the copyright holder. This would occur where infringing copies are posted on the University's computer network.

The University's agent is:

Chris Gregg
Mail # AQU 320
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 962-6265

TEACH liberalized the provisions of section 110 of the Copyright law as it applies to the fair use of copyrighted materials in distance education. The revisions expanded the type of works allowed for display or performance, the permissible locations for viewing them, provisions for digitization, storage, and access in the context of institutions providing distance education for their students.

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.

Annual Disclosure

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.
  • ITS 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 a 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.

Reviewing Effectiveness

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.