University of Maryland Compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act


In this article

Introduction

This summary covers the University of Maryland's compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), sections 668.14 and 668.43, commonly referred to as the peer-to-peer(P2P) provision.

The University of Maryland employs a multi-faceted approach to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the institution's network. Below are the components of this approach.

Technological deterrents

Three technology-based deterrents are in place.

  1. Traffic-shaping technology controls network traffic and restricts bandwidth usage on the university's connections to the Internet. Peer-to-peer file sharing applications are assigned lowest priority and further limiting of outbound P2P traffic reduces external downloads from our network.
  2. Since October 2007, we have blocked network connections from use of ARES and LimeWire P2P file-sharing applications.
  3. Finally, we accept and respond to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices directed to the agent designated to receive notifications of claimed infringement at the advertised address of nethics@umd.edu. The agent notifies the user allegedly responsible for the complaint. The notice conveys expectations for compliance and includes information on the consequences of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. Repeat offenses are referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Education

Multiple mechanisms, available on an ongoing basis, are in place for educating and informing the community about the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. They include:

Legal programs

Lists of legal sources of online content for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material are available via the RIAA legal music options, EDUCAUSE, and Legal Ways to Obtain Music, Movies, and TV through the Internet. The summary is generated as part of an ongoing review process of legal alternatives conducted by Project NEThics of the Division of Information Technology.

The university was one of the piloting institutions in sponsoring music subscription services (first CTrax and then Ruckus) from March 2005 through February 2009. As new services become available, they will be evaluated by Division of IT with representatives from student legislative bodies (Student Government Association, Residence Halls Association) to determine the programs and funding plans that best address student needs.

Review

Annually the Division of Information Technology Security and Policy Office will convene a meeting to review the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials. Meeting participants will include the Director of IT Security and Policy; the Coordinator of Project NEThics (who is the DMCA agent); counsel from the Office of Legal Affairs; and a staff member of the Office of Student Conduct.

Consumer Information

  1. The required statement "Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the student user to civil and criminal liabilities" has been added to Student Guidelines for Network Computer Use following the existing language: "Users of the Campus Data Network must also read and agree to the university's Acceptable Use Policy. As stated in the Acceptable Use Policy, resident students may not use their network connection to receive or distribute copyrighted material without permission, including the unauthorized storage or distribution of software, motion pictures, videos, and music."
  2. The sample "Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws," is provided on the Copyright Infringing File Sharing page.
  3. For a description of the institution's policies with respect to unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution's information technology system, see: Copyright Infringing File Sharing.