The United States copyright law is written to protect the intellectual works of content creators. The law grants exclusive rights to creators of original works for a set period of time. There are volume’s written on the role and formulation of copyright law, but for the purposes of this policy, if a piece of content (a song, a recording, a book, a movie, etc…) is copyrighted, it falls under the protection of this law. There are several exclusions for the use of copyright works in teaching, learning, research, fair use, library materials, etc… but for the most part this policy deals with the willful duplication and distribution of copyright materials without the owner’s permission, in violation of copyright law.
|Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)|
HEOA was signed into law in 2008. Specific sections are intended to stem unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. The Department of Education requires the following provisions for compliance;
- Provide an annual disclosure to students informing them of federal copyright laws and University policies related to violations.
- Develop and implement a plan to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by users of the campus network.
- Periodically review and, to the extent practical, offer legal alternatives for acquiring copyrighted material.
|Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)|
The DMCA criminalizes certain actions used to violate copyright in the creation, distribution, dissemination, of protected materials. Most of the copyright enforcement over the past several years has been established under the provisions of the DMCA.
|Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)||The RIAA and MPAA are trade groups that serve as agents for the content owned by their members. Many of the largest recording and movie companies are members of these associations. More recently these trade groups have taken on the duties to monitor and enforce the distribution, licensing, and royalties of the content owned by their members.|
|Peer-to-Peer (P2P) applications||Software that is created to distribute and share digital material is generally referred to as P2P tools. While often used to bypass and circumvent copyright law, there are legitimate uses of P2P software as well. Over time, many of these software products have come under the attention of the various content owners and have either been removed from the marketplace, or in some cases the subject of lawsuits.|
|Take-down-notices, settlement letters, preservation letters, subpoenas||The courts and various content owners have taken many routes to reduce the illegal copying and distribution of copyright materials. A “take-down-notice” is the first communication that a content owner believes that their materials are being used in an illegal manner. The violator is notified to remove the offending content. Settlement letters have been used by the various trade groups to provide an opportunity to resolve a DMCA violation by the infringer paying a set amount to settle the complaint. Often a settlement letter to an individual is accompanied by a preservation letter to the university to collect evidence in network logs that would substantiate a legal claim of violation. The content owners may also pursue a violation through the courts and issue a subpoena to collect evidence of a violation.|
|Network traffic shaping||The campus network is a finite resource that is expensive to create and operate, and is shared among all users. In the late 1990’s the network was being heavily used to transmit digital music and movies with P2P software applications. This use was saturating the network so heavily, that other academic, instructional, and business use could not be performed. A network appliance to monitor, control, and limit the use of the campus network by certain software applications was put in place to keep the campus network operational for core academic and instructional activities.|
|Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)||The AUP describes a wide range of activities that our performed on campus computer and network resources. It points to the priorities of use that govern how shared resources can be maintained in a secure and effective manner.|