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:

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.

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.

2. A summary of the penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws.

“Copyright 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.

Penalties for 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.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more 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.”

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.

    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.

4. The HEOA also states each educational institution will offer legal alternatives for downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material.

PNC students are encouraged to use the following list of known legitimate download services for legally acquiring media

    .

5. Plan to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of PNC’s network:

    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.
      PNC copyright policies and educational statements are advertised in the following locations:

a. Student Code of Conduct and Discipline document:

      (Describes PNC copyright policies and consequences for violations.)

b. The PNC Internet Resource Utilization Policy:

      (Establishes guidelines that will govern the use of Internet resources on the PNC campus.)

c. PNC Educational Technology Resources:

      (Provides access to resources about copyright in general and its importance to higher education.)

6. Technology-based Deterrents:

    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.

7. Procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plan:

    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 documentation accordingly.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact the Help Desk at ext. 5511 or submit a trouble ticket online at: services@pnc