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Higher Education Opportunity Act

Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Compliance Plan

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008.

Final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009.
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 Brescia University has implemented as a ‘good faith’ effort to comply with this Federal Law.

Part 1: Informing the Community

Links to relevant Brescia University:

Sanctions for copyright infringement and Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation 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 wither 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 attorney’s 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.

For more information, please see the web site of the U.S. Copyright office at http://www.copyright.gov and the FAQ’s at http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq

Part 2: Effectively Combating Copyright Infringement

Technology deterrent(s) used:

Currently, Brescia University uses a “Packetshaper” to block all peer-to-peer applications and shape traffic 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:

Brescia University views the safeguards that are in place as a layered approach to communication regarding copyrighted content, including:

  • The Technology Policy explicitly prohibits unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material.
  • The Vice President of Student Development refers students to the Student Judicial Board for behavior not consistent with Brescia computer use policies”
  • The Brescia File Sharing Information Web site 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 University 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 Vice President for Student Development or his designate if the alleged offender is a student. The offense will be handled via the student judicial process in accordance with the Student Handbook.

The Cabinet member of the area that the employee works in if the alleged offender is an employee. The offense will be handled via the administrative process in accordance with the Faculty or Staff Policy Manual.

Periodic review of plan:

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

Part 3: Offering Legal Alternatives

Brescia University provides a link to the EDUCAUSE maintained Web page listing of Legal Downloading resources at http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent