Protecting Against Illegal File Sharing

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) includes provisions to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted materials through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Any of the following activities, if conducted without permission of the copyright owner, are probable violations of the copyright law:

  • Copying and sharing images, music, movies, television shows, publications, software or other copyrighted materials.
  • Purchasing a CD or DVD and then making copies for others.
  • Posting or plagiarizing copyrighted material on your personal Web space.
  • Downloading anything of which you don’t already own a copy (software, MP3s, movies, television shows, etc.).

The HEOA requirements and Lorain County Community College’s methods of compliance are below:

  1.  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.
    On an annual basis, Lorain County Community College will inform students via LCCC student e-mail about the criminal, civil and college penalties for the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials. Students will be directed to the “Campus Policies” section of the LCCC Web site for details about the college policies related to copyright and peer-to-peer sharing of materials.  The site will also include links to information about copyright compliance.
  2. Certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed plans to “effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material including “the use of one or more technology-based deterrents.”
    • The downloading and sharing of copyrighted materials is prohibited by the LCCC Campus Code of Conduct, Code of Student Conduct and LCCC policy.  Students, faculty, staff and community users who do not comply are subject to disciplinary action by the college, and when appropriate, reported to legal authorities.
    • Well-known ports of popular P2P applications that are known to be widely used for illegal file sharing are blocked on the LCCC student and community user wireless network at all times.
    • LCCC utilizes applications that monitor Internet traffic across the entire wired network to send alerts when P2P applications appear to be sharing files with a large number of Internet users.  When identified, materials are reviewed for potential violations of LCCC policy and applicable laws. When appropriate, information is forwarded to the LCCC Campus Security office and the Enrollment and Student Financial Aid for investigation and possible disciplinary action.   
  3. Offer alternatives to illegal file sharing to the extent practical.
    A list of sources for legal online content is provided by EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. Explore links to content providers.   
  4. Identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.
    LCCC blocks sites that have been identified as primary sources for the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials, including software, music, video, games and other protected materials.  On a continuing basis, LCCC monitors the transfer of large-file-size materials across the college network.

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