HEOA: Higher Education and Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
August 1, 2010 | By Damon Armour, IT Security Officer, contributing writer
On July 1, 2010, the peer-to-peer (P2P) provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 went into effect. The regulations that are part of the HEOA are managed by the Department of Education. The HEOA has three primary requirements for the P2P provisions. First, an annual disclosure must be made to the students which reviews copyright law and the policies that the campus has in place to protect against copyright infringement. The second requirement is to have a plan in place to “effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials” by any user on Augusta State University’s network, including “the use of one or more technology-based deterrents.” The third requirement is having alternative options available to illegal downloading of copyrighted materials.
The Department of Education expects all colleges and universities to comply with the provisions of the HEOA. As stated in the 7 Things You Should Know About the P2P Provisions of the HEOA, a school’s eligibility to Title IV funding is at stake. Title IV funding is most commonly referred to as financial aid such as Pell grants, Direct, Perkins, and Parent Plus loans. ASU has been taking measures prior to the implementation of HEOA to educate our faculty, staff, and students on copyright infringement while also utilizing technological controls to limit incidents on our network.
The Department of Education has provided the campus with an informational letter containing a summary of civil and criminal penalties for violations of federal copyright laws.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
Awareness has always been the most effective tool in information security and compliance. The HEOA P2P provisions are not different. Below is a list of some methods ASU uses to make our faculty, staff, and students aware of their responsibilities regarding copyright infringement.
- Every fall semester, ITS sends an e-mail to all students regarding illegal downloading and distribution of copyrighted materials.
- Throughout the year, articles are published in the ASU Report that deal with information security issues, including copyright infringement.
- Cyber Security Month (October) is an opportunity each year to review topics related to information security and compliance. Copyright infringement is one of many topics used in awareness materials.
- The University’s Computer and Network Usage Policy has three specific statements that address copyright infringement.
- 4.1.2. Intellectual property
- You are responsible for recognizing (attributing) and honoring the intellectual property rights of others.
- 4.9. Use of copyrighted information and materials
- You are prohibited from using, inspecting, copying, or storing copyrighted computer programs and other material in violation of copyright.
- 6.3. Upholding of copyrights and license provisions
- Augusta State University has the responsibility to uphold all copyrights, laws governing access and use of information, and rules of organizations supplying information resources to members of the community (e.g., acceptable use policies for use of Internet).
- 4.1.2. Intellectual property
All ASU students residing in University Village must review an online document that states that they are aware of the copyright infringement issues in addition to acceptable use policies.
In addition to awareness, technology controls are in place to prevent and/or track P2P related traffic. The university will continue to monitor and evolve our use of technology to not only protect the campus network, but likewise protect the faculty, staff and students from illegal copyrighted materials.
ITS Security has set up a website (http://www.aug.edu/its/security/filesharing.html) to provide additional information on copyright law, university policies, and an FAQ section to assist with common questions. Also provided is a general list of legal alternatives to illegal downloading.
Augusta State University wants all members of its campus to appreciate the value of copyrighted materials and respect the content authors/providers along with the laws that regulate it. With the HEOA and its P2P provisions, ASU will continue to educate, monitor, and respond to copyright infringements that take place on the campus’ network, to include ResNet. If you are seeking further information on the HEOA or its P2P provisions, below is a listing of key sources that may be of interest.
Department of Education Final Regulations:
Educause: Legal Sources of Online Content:
7 Things You Should Know about P2P Provisions of the HEOA: