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Information Security Office
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Support Topics for Users

Increasing Enforcement Activities by Copyright Holders

As the DMCA Agent for the university, the Information Security Officer (ISO) processes all legal requests regarding alleged copyright infringement. These are notices from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or another copyright holder or representative of a copyright holder.

It is important for students, faculty, and staff to understand what each notice is and how it is handled. These notices are legal documents and can have legal, academic, and employment consequences if there has been activity that violates the university's Acceptable Use Policy or state or federal statutes.

There are four possible types of notices:

  • Standard Alleged DMCA Violation Warnings
  • Presettlement Letters Related to Alleged DMCA Violations
  • Preservation Requests Related to Alleged DMCA Violations
  • Subpoenas Issued Related to Alleged DMCA Violations

The complaining party does not have to deliver these in any particular order, and they may issue more than one kind of notice for a single alleged violation. While many people receive a standard warning first, sometimes the first complaint is a pre-settlement letter or even a subpoena.

Consequences

In addition to forwarding the letter to the recipient, the ISO also takes certain actions if abuse is verified. The university takes these activities seriously.

  • Notices to students may be referred to Student Judicial Services. Consequences can range from having campus network privileges revoked to being placed on academic probation.
  • Notices to faculty may be referred to the chair, dean, or provost.
  • Notices to staff may be referred to the supervisor for disciplinary action.

Types of Notices

Standard Alleged DMCA Violation Warnings

A Standard Alleged DMCA Violation Warning is basically a warning message that does not contain a threat of legal action. It contains elements that can be associated with network use, and requests the university to "internally identify" and then forward the letter to the individual associated with those elements.

Pre-settlement Letters Related to Alleged DMCA Violations

Pre-settlement notices began being delivered in March of 2007. This is a request from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or another copyright holder or representative of a copyright holder. It contains elements that can be associated with network use, and requests the university to "internally identify" and then forward the letter to the individual associated with those elements. In addition to forwarding the letter to the recipient, the ISO also notifies the Legal Services for Students Office.

These letters provide the recipients with a limited time to contact the sender and pay a settlement fee. If the recipient chooses to not pay the fee, the sender will sue the recipient. The average offered settlement has been around $3,000.

Preservation Requests Related to Alleged DMCA Violations

A preservation notice is a notice to the university to keep records of a particular user's Internet usage. The subject of the notice is not notified.

Subpoenas Issued Related to Alleged DMCA Violations

A subpoena is a legal request for information from the university's records. This means that a lawsuit has been filed. The subject of the subpoena is notified of its receipt.

 



Last updated July 20, 2009.
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