Copyright and Peer-to-Peer File-sharing Requirements
H.R. 4137, The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is
designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted
works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. These provisions include
- Institutions make an annual disclosure to inform students that
the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to
criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps that institutions
will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted
- 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
The Office of Technology Services at the University of Baltimore will comply with HEOA in the following manner.
Consistent with our educational principles, OTS views awareness as
the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted
materials at UB. OTS uses a wide variety of methods to inform the UB
community of the law and UB’s response to copyright infringement claims:
- To use OTS resources, all members of the UB community must
endorse a Computer User Agreement that includes a section on copyright
- UB’s initial emphasis on copyright compliance occurs at new student orientation sessions.
- Posters in student computer labs and elsewhere discourage illegal file sharing.
- Computing support staff, including student workers, are
regularly trained on the University’s position regarding copyright
- UB's policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and response to infringement claims are published on UB’s Acceptable Use Policy page.
- Periodically, all employees will receive e-mail regarding copyright infringement and related issues.
Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
A core element of academic integrity is the respect for copyright and
intellectual property. Users who violate stated policies are first
reminded that peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal and against UB’s
acceptable use policies.
Our information security staff, in conjunction with the Dean of
Students, handles the University's initial response to DMCA violations.
Students may lose access to the network until they pay an administrative
fee and review online materials explaining copyright rules. The Dean of
Students manages subsequent violations. Penalties for repeat offenders
may include loss of network access and fees.
Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing
Educause, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher
education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology,
maintains a comprehensive list of Legal Downloading Resources. UB encourages members of the campus community to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.
Periodic Review of Plan and Assessment Criteria
- Office of Technology Services security personnel in conjunction
with The Dean of Students reviews the number and severity of alleged
DMCA violations regularly to determine if changes in disciplinary
procedures or educational materials are needed.
- Information security staff, under the direction of the Chief
Information Officer, review technical deterrents annually to determine
if these deterrents remain effective in limiting undesirable traffic.
- The University's information security staff reviews newly available technology periodically for deployment.