Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Compliance Policy

Overview

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act amends federal copyright law to provide certain liability protections for online service providers, including York College of Pennsylvania, when their computer systems or networks carry materials that violate (infringe) copyright law. To qualify for liability protection, the College is required to have a policy under which the computer accounts of users will be terminated if they repeatedly infringe the copyrighted works of others.

Scope

Compliance with federal copyright law is expected of all students, faculty, and staff at York College. "Copyright" is legal protection for creative intellectual works, which is broadly interpreted to cover just about any expression of an idea. Text (including email and Web information), graphics, art, photographs, music, and software are examples of types of works protected by copyright. The creator of the work, or sometimes the person who hired the creator, is the initial copyright owner.

Policy

You may "use" all or part of a copyrighted work only if (a) you have the copyright owner's permission, or (b) you qualify for a legal exception (the most common exception is called "fair use"). "Use" of a work is defined for copyright purposes as copying, distributing, making derivative works, publicly displaying, or publicly performing the work. Copying, distributing, downloading, and uploading information on the Internet may infringe the copyright for that information. Even an innocent, unintentional infringement violates the law. Violations of copyright law that occur on or over the College’s networks or other computer resources may create liability for the College as well as the computer user. Accordingly, repeat infringers will have their computer account and other access privileges terminated.

Procedures

When York College receives a copyright infringement claim involving music, video, software, or other digital materials, York College takes the following steps:

  • York College checks network usage logs and registration information to examine the system alleged to be involved in copyright infringement and we identify the person using it;
  • We suspend the system’s Internet and York College network access;
  • We DO NOT disclose the user's identity;
  • We inform the user that an infringement claim has been made and ask if the user has downloaded or shared the copyrighted material in question without permission.

First-Time Offenses

If the user acknowledges using or sharing the copyrighted material without permission, York College will:

  • Require the user to review information about the DMCA statute and copyright regulations;
  • Require the user to attest that he or she has removed the copyrighted work and the software used to download it;
  • Deny the user's system access to the York College network and Internet until the matter has been resolved;
  • Inform the Office of Student Conduct of the infringement incident if the user is a student;
  • Inform the appropriate senior administrator and the Human Resources department if the user is an employee or contractor and determine the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken;
  • Inform the claimant that the matter has been resolved, if necessary.

If the user denies using the copyrighted material without permission, York College will:

  • Require the user to submit a statement denying the copyright infringement claim;
  • Inform the claimant that the claim has been denied;
  • Under the DMCA, the claimant may pursue a subpoena to obtain the identity of the system user and may file a lawsuit against the user.

If the user does not meet with the IT Help Desk to review the Acceptable Use Policy and the DMCA information within seven business days of notification, the issue will be deferred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Second-Time Offenses

If the user acknowledges a second instance of using copyrighted material without permission, York College will:

  • Require the user to re-read the Acceptable Use Policy and to review information about the DMCA statute and copyright regulations;
  • Require the user to attest that he or she has removed the copyrighted work and the software used to download it;
  • Inform the Office of Student Conduct and discuss appropriate action to be taken if the user is a student;
  • Inform the appropriate senior administrator and the Human Resources department if the user is an employee or contractor and determine the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken;
  • Inform the claimant that the matter has been resolved, if necessary.

RIAA Pre-Litigation Letters

In February 2007, the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) announced a new strategy for dealing with suspected instances of copyright infringement. The RIAA sends “settlement letters” to colleges indicating their intention to sue users of systems engaged in illegal file sharing and asking colleges to forward those letters to users. A sample settlement letter can be found at: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/CSD4832.pdf.

The letters inform users that they can avoid lawsuits by immediately contacting the RIAA and paying settlement fees. If users decline to do this, subpoenas will be sought to require colleges to disclose users' identities. Lawsuits will then be filed. Users may, at that time, avoid a lawsuit by paying settlement fees larger than the original settlement amount. If users again decline, lawsuits will be pursued to obtain damages and recover RIAA legal fees.

In the event that York College receives a settlement letter, the College will:

  • Treat the letter as a DMCA copyright infringement claim and respond as per the DMCA response guidelines;
  • Forward the pre-litigation letter to the system user, if known;
  • York College will not disclose the identity of a system user unless presented with a subpoena, writ, or other court order

Enforcement

Copyright violations are violations of the York College Acceptable Use Policy. Violators may be referred to the appropriate disciplinary procedure. Violations of law may also be referred for criminal or civil prosecution. York College of Pennsylvania reserves the right to terminate computing services of users who repeatedly infringe upon the rights of copyright owners. If you have questions about whether you may be infringing on another's copyright, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk. Willful disregard of York College’s DMCA Policy by members of the community may result in personal liability in the event that legal action is taken against them.

Related Documents

York College Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy

York College HEOA Compliance Policy

Revised 6/6/2013