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HEOA Student Consumer Information

Compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements


H.R 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. 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 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 materials.
  • 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 Northeast's plan to comply with these requirements.

Annual Disclosure

Consistent with our educational principles, we view education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials at Northeast. We use a combination of methods to inform our community about the law and Northeast's response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use college computing resources, all members of the Northeast community agree to be bound by the Acceptable Use Procedures-Electronic Resources (Policy A) that includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • Every fall we send a letter or email to all students regarding illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • Every fall we include information about copyright compliance in the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Northeast's policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and our response to infringement claims are published on Northeast's web site.

Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

Northeast currently uses desktop policies to restrict installation of peer to peer file sharing software on public use computers. In addition, a web filter that monitors and logs all web-based traffic is capable of blocking peer-to-peer file sharing websites as a group or a per-site basis. Finally, Northeast has the ability to track bandwidth and network utilization with various tools and packet-shaping technologies.

The College responds to all Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices according to policies published on our web site at Response to Claims of Copyright Infringement.

Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The Northeast web site provides a link to sites that provide numerous options for obtaining music, videos, and other digital content in a legal manner. Members of the Northeast community are encouraged to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content. The relevant page on the EDUCAUSE web site.

Reviewing Effectiveness

These steps will be reviewed annually and revised as necessary to remain in compliance. The review will assess the overall effectiveness of Northeast's plan based on the number of DMCA notices received, 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.