Copyright Infringement

Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Compliance Plan for Combating Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Materials

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008. Enforcement of the HEOA provisions formally begins July 1, 2010, and all colleges and universities are required to make a good-faith effort at compliance.

Several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, imposing three general requirements on all U.S. colleges and universities:

  1. An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
  2. 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”.
  3. A plan to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading”.

This Web page provides an overview of the policies, procedures, and other actions Muskegon Community College has implemented as a ‘good faith’ effort to comply with this Federal Law.

Part 1: Informing the Community

Links to relevant Muskegon Community College Web pages:

Part 2: Effectively Combating Copyright Infringement

Technology deterrent(s) used:

Currently, Muskegon Community College’s packet shaping internet bandwidth control device is used to block all peer-to-peer applications identified, or any application that is known to facilitate illicit copyright material distribution. This device is continually monitored and application signatures and other content is regularly and routinely updated to ensure currency.

Administrative deterrent(s) used:

Muskegon Community College views the safeguards that are in place as a layered approach to communication regarding copyrighted content, including:

  • Computer Usage Policy for Students and Community Members explicitly prohibits unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material.
  • The Network Access Policy defines the penalties for misuse of college network infrastructure.
  • The Higher Education Opportunity Act Compliance website contains pages related to copyright compliance Information and links to legal alternatives to downloading copyrighted material.

Procedures for handling reported infringement:

If the educational and technical efforts are not effective, and the College is contacted with a “Notice of Claimed Infringement” or similar infringement notification by a copyright holder, then the notice will be forwarded to either:

  • The Dean of Student Services if the alleged offender is a student. The offense will be handled via the student judicial process.
  • Human Resources if the alleged offender is an employee. The offense will be handled via the administrative process in accordance with Human Resources Policy.
  • Campus Security if the notification is ‘criminal’ rather than ‘civil’ in nature.

Periodic review of plan:

The current approach and plan are reviewed annually during the Fall term. Criteria is primarily measured by increase/decrease in the number of infringement reported.

Plan last reviewed/updated December 17, 2010

Part 3: Offering Legal Alternatives

Muskegon Community College provides a link to the EDUCAUSE maintained Web page listing of Legal Downloading resources.