Plan to Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material by Users of Georgetown University Networks
NOTE: This document is developed as part of Georgetown University’s efforts to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and 34 CFR Sec. 668.14(b)(30).
Georgetown University recognizes the importance of the legal protection that copyrights provide, both for the Georgetown faculty, staff and students who generate creative works and for those other individuals and entities whose creative works are seen, heard, or otherwise used by those in the University community. Copyrights help to ensure that authors of creative works can control how those works are used and prevent others from capitalizing on, or using or distributing, the works without permission. The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material such as songs, videos, games, textbooks, or other types of creative content, including through peer-to-peer file sharing, is prohibited by Georgetown University policy and may violate civil or criminal law. To combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of Georgetown University networks, the University has taken, and plans to continue taking, a number of steps. The University believes that this approach, which it will review periodically, will help to minimize the frequency with which University networks are used for unauthorized distribution.
I. Community Education and Information
Georgetown University believes that informing and educating its community about issues relating to copyrights and the differences between appropriate and inappropriate use of copyrighted material is the best way to limit unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. The University uses a number of mechanisms for educating and informing its community about these topics and will continue its efforts to disseminate information and expand awareness. Some of the mechanisms currently in place include the following:
a. OCE Web Page. The University’s Office of Compliance and Ethics (OCE) maintains a comprehensive web page that includes all consumer information and disclosures required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Among those disclosures is information about peer-to-peer file sharing, including an explanation of what a copyright is; a general description of how students and others may (and may not) download and distribute creative materials; information relating to the civil and legal penalties for violating copyright law; and resources for legal alternatives to download or acquire copyrighted material. See http://www1.georgetown.edu/admin/counsel/oce/HEOA08/#6d.
b. DMCA and Courtesy Notification Procedures. The University’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Courtesy Notification Procedures describe the University’s thorough procedures for handling unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing activity, including the internal University disciplinary processes (and potential actions) applied to students and staff members who may engage in such conduct using the institution’s information technology systems. See http://policies.georgetown.edu/secure/tech/?ID=33658 (Requires a Georgetown University NetID).
c. University Policies Relating to Copyrighted Material. The University has several policies and institutional documents, which are available to all members of the community and published in various University bulletins or handbooks, that discuss copyright law in general and, in some instances, peer-to-peer file sharing specifically. Among them are:
i. Acceptable Use Policy: http://policies.georgetown.edu/31641.html
The University’s Acceptable Use Policy describes the acceptable uses of University computer and information systems, networks and other information technology resources. The Policy states: “The University recognizes that the purpose of copyright is to protect the rights of the creators of intellectual property and to prevent the unauthorized use or sale of works available in the private sector. . . You may not… t[ie] up computer and network resources for illegally downloading or sharing music, movies, software or other files … You are responsible for making use of software and electronic materials in accordance with copyright and licensing restrictions and applicable university policies. You may not use Georgetown University networks, equipment and software to violate copyright or the terms of any license agreement.” This policy is also included in the Student Handbook.
ii. Copyright in the Information Age: http://policies.georgetown.edu/copyright/
The University’s “Copyright in the Information Age” Policy includes information for members of the academic community on copyright basics, using copyrighted materials, obtaining and giving permissions, and a set of appendices that together provide a wealth of information about the importance of copyrights and how to work with copyrighted materials. This Policy includes a specific section on “Sharing Files Through Peer-to-Peer Software,” which is at: (http://policies.georgetown.edu/copyright/sections/resources/#resources12)
iii. Peer-to-Peer Primer: http://policies.georgetown.edu/33666.html
The University’s “Peer-to-Peer Primer” provides information and educational resources on file sharing and the risks and implications of using peer-to-peer technologies to members of the University community.
iv. Office of Student Conduct Notice on Peer-to-Peer File Sharing: http://policies.georgetown.edu/33875.html
The University’s Office of Student Conduct posted a notice informing students that peer-to-peer file sharing can slow down University networks, increase vulnerability to viruses and spyware, and result in Student Conduct violations and potentially serious civil and criminal penalties.
d. Scholarly Research and Academic Integrity Tutorial. The University requires all new undergraduate students, including freshmen and transfer students, to complete an online Scholarly Research and Academic Integrity Tutorial which includes specific content on appropriate use of copyrighted materials. Deans will not approve pre-registration for the following semester for those students who do not complete the tutorial by the given deadline.
e. New Student Orientation Notice Letter. The University provides a letter in the materials distributed to students who will reside in residential housing that includes information on safe computing. The letter contains a warning on the risks of peer-to-peer file sharing.
f. Student Technology Services Web Page. The Student Technology Services web page links to the University Information Services Policy Page and provides access to information on “Downloading Music, Movies and Software Legally.” http://uis.georgetown.edu/student.html
g. Graduate School Bulletin. The Bulletin of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences includes specific content on copyright. The Bulletin also includes a link to the University’s Acceptable Use Policy. http://grad.georgetown.edu/image_pool/File/Grad_Bulletin_2009-10-rev04-26-2010.pdf
h. Law Center Orientation and Web Materials. During orientation for all law students, the Law Center CIO conducts a mandatory session on file sharing. In addition, the Law Center’s technology orientation website includes links to the University’s Acceptable Use Policy and Copyright in the Information Age Policy. http://www.law.georgetown.edu/ist/students/orientation.htm
i. University Information Security Website. The University’s Information Security Website contains links to many of the University Information Services policies and documentation pertaining to copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. http://security.georgetown.edu/
II. Technology-Based Deterrents
Georgetown University employs, and plans to continue, a vigorous program of accepting and responding to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices. The University’s DMCA and Courtesy Notification Procedures are available at http://policies.georgetown.edu/secure/tech/?ID=33658&login=1 (Requires a Georgetown University NetID). In addition to its DMCA notice procedures, the University applies bandwidth rate limiting to student residential housing, which has the effect of discouraging unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
III. Procedures for Handling Unauthorized Distribution of Copyright Material
The University’s DMCA and Courtesy Notification Procedures set forth the procedures for handling instances of alleged unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including the disciplinary procedures that apply to students and University employees. http://policies.georgetown.edu/secure/tech/?ID=33658 (Requires a Georgetown University NetID).
IV. Legal Alternatives To Download/Acquire Copyrighted Material
In addition to its efforts to educate and inform the University community about issues relating to copyrighted material and its procedures for handling allegations that copyrighted material has been distributed in an unauthorized manner, the University provides information about legal means of downloading and acquiring copyrighted material. The University Information Services Resource Page on legal alternatives, including links to both the RIAA’s and MPAA’s sites, is at: http://uis.georgetown.edu/students/legaldownloads/
In addition the University provides links to EDUCAUSE’s Legal Sources of Online Content page, which is at: http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent
The University will update information on legal alternatives as appropriate.
V. Procedures for Periodic Review of the Effectiveness of This Plan
The University shall review this Plan to Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material by Users of Georgetown University Networks as necessary and appropriate given developments in technology, law, regulation and policy, but shall conduct a formal review of the Plan no less than every two years. The review shall be led by the Office of Information Services Director of IT Policy and Privacy Officer, who shall consult with the CIO, Office of Compliance and Ethics, Office of University Counsel, and others as necessary, and shall include an evaluation of current best-practices at similarly situated institutions of higher education.
1This DMCA Notice program, in conjunction with the University’s strong education and information distribution policies, satisfies the requirement in 34 CFR Sec. 668.14(b)(30) that an institution use “one or more technology-based deterrents” to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. See, e.g., June 4, 2010 “Dear Colleague” Letter from Daniel T. Madzelan, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education (DCL: GEN-10-08), http://www.ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1008.html