Friday, July 2, 2010

Be sure you know about peer-to-peer file sharing and HEOA!

July 1, 2010 marks the day that the U.S. Higher Education Opportunity Act (“HEOA”) provisions come into force. Several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, requiring all U.S. colleges and universities to provide the following with respect to copyright policies.

An annual disclosure that explicitly informs students that unauthorized distribution of copyright-protected content, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may expose the students to civil and criminal liabilities. This should include a summary of those civil and criminal liabilities, and describe copyright and campus policies on violating copyright.
A plan to “combat” piracy by users of its network, including the use of any technology-based deterrents.
A plan to offer alternatives “to the extent possible” to illegal downloading.
Examples of compliance actions include: Cornell University, Reed College, Linfield College,Bard College,Pomona College,Southwestern University, The University of Kansas, and Purdue University.

The HEOA provisions allow each college and university to interpret what the provisions mean to them, and what copyright education means to them within their own philosophies and goals.