Information Services -
Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)
The Higher Education Opportunity
Act (Public Law 110-315) requires institutions of higher
education take preventive measures to combat the illegal
distribution of copyrighted materials by users of their
data networks. These requirements include the following:
Information Services Links
1. Each campus must provide a statement that explicitly informs its students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities.
2. A summary of the penalties for
violation of Federal copyright laws.
PNC Statement: In compliance with the
Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA),
the PNC IS department will notify the appropriate authorities whenever
requests are made by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
or other enforcement agency. Offenders are also reported to the Dean of Students
office for disciplinary action.
3. 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.
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.
copyright infringement include civil and criminal
penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil
copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either
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
attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United
States Code, Sections 504, 505.
copyright infringement can also result in criminal
penalties, including imprisonment of up to five
years and fines of up to $250,000 per
information, please see the Web site of the U.S.
Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially
their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq."
4. The HEOA also states each
educational institution will offer legal alternatives
for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted
When an enforcement agency such as the RIAA reports illegal download activity at PNC,
it is reported to the Dean of Students office and an appointment is made with the student.
With repeat offenses, the disciplinary penalty may result in expulsion of the student
from the university.
5. Plan to combat
unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by
users of PNC's network:
6. Technology-based Deterrents:
Copyright infringement, including unauthorized media downloading using the PNC campus
network is dishonest and will not be tolerated. In compliance with the Higher Education
Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), the PNC IS department will notify the appropriate
authorities whenever requests are made by the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) or other enforcement agency.
Offenders are also reported to the Dean of Students office for disciplinary action.
7. Procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plan:
The PNC campus has the ability to identify users engaging in illegal file-sharing
activity. Names of these individuals are forwarded to the Dean of Students
office for appropriate action.
A PNC IS department representative will meet with members of the Dean of Students
office annually to review the HEOA institutional plan and the portion of the
Student Code of Conduct that applies to the illegal distribution of copyrighted
materials. The PNC IS department will discuss best practices in terms
of technology deterrents and legal alternatives and advertise
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact the Help Desk at ext. 5511
or submit a trouble ticket online at: