Copyrighted Material & File Sharing

Introduction

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008.  Proposed regulations for implementing the Act were issued by the Department of Education on August 21, 2009, and final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009.  HEOA includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.   Under these provisions Stonehill College must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Provide an annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
  • Develop a plan to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by users of its network, including the use of one or more technology-based deterrents and periodically review the plan.
  • Offer alternatives to illegal downloading.

The following outlines Stonehill’s plan to comply with these requirements.

Annual Disclosure

Stonehill uses a variety of methods to inform students inform our community about the law and Stonehill’s response to copyright infringement claims.

  • The Department of Information Technology (IT) plans to send out an annual electronic notification to all students reminding them of copyright laws and campus policies related to violating copyright laws.
  • Information regarding the dangers related to peer-to-peer file sharing and the potential for violating copyright laws is provided in the Hill Book and on the Stonehill College website.
  • IT support staff, including Student Assistants working at the Help Desk, are trained on the copyright protection.  Student employees provide education and leadership to their peers in the community.
  • Periodically, the General Counsel and the Library Director provide training and information to College employees regarding copyright laws and related issues.

Plan to Effectively Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

The Department of Information Technology currently utilizes bandwidth-shaping technology on our internal network to prioritize network traffic. We severely limit the amount of bandwidth available to the known peer-to-peer applications and in effect block their use on campus.  We periodically monitor the effectiveness of this technology as well as other cases of high bandwidth consumption to ensure compliance with our policies.

The Chief Information Officer consults with the General Counsel to assess any copyright infringement claims.

Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The IT web site provides a link to a site maintained by Educause that contains links to all of the legitimate online services for audio and video downloading that Educause is aware of.  Educause has taken responsibility to organize this list of legal downloading services to provide an alternative to unauthorized downloading for the higher education community.  Members of the Stonehill community are encouraged to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.

Reviewing Effectiveness

Beginning in 2011-12 and annually from then on, IT will survey community members to assess their understanding of copyright laws and whether they are taking advantage of legal alternatives for downloading movies and music.  We will also analyze the impact of our technical efforts to combat illegal file sharing.