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HEOA Compliance

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires academic institutions to increase their response to copyright infringements in regard to unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials. HEOA specifies that institutions must take their obligations under the Act seriously and make good faith efforts to comply with the Act. The Law requires us to:

  1. Provide an annual discloser to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law. Three required components of this disclosure are:

    • A statement that explicitly informs students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities.
    • A summary of the penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws.
    • 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.

  2. Implement a plan to "effectively combat" unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials on the campus network by using "one or more technology-based deterrents."
  3. "Offer alternatives to illegal downloading."

STLCC Compliance Plan

St. Louis Community College fosters an environment conducive to learning by providing access to resources such as the Internet. This access has the potential to be used in the illegal acquisition and distribution of copyrighted materials. STLCC strives to be compliant with all applicable local, state and federal laws with respect to copyright use. Part of complying with these laws is respecting the mandates set forth in the HEOA.

  1. Provide an annual discloser to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law. Three required components of this disclosure are:

    • Statement Informing Students of Copyright Related Civil and Criminal Liabilities
      St. Louis Community College provides information technology resources to further a dynamic learning experience and provide access to additional research, administrative tools and environments. Use of these tools to engage in the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials or unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing may subject students to civil and criminal liabilities.
    • Summary of Civil and Criminal 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, and 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 visit the website of the U.S. Copyright Office, especially their FAQ's page. 
    • Institutional Policies and Penalties (Excerpted from the Student Handbook)
      Upon enrolling in the college, each student assumes an obligation to conduct himself/herself in a manner compatible with the college's function as an educational institution and to obey the laws enacted by federal, state and local governments. If this obligation is neglected or ignored by the student, the college must, in the interest of fulfilling its function, institute appropriate disciplinary action.

      Students using college computer and network facilities, including access to online services outside the college, must adhere to college guidelines:

      • Use of college computer systems and access to computer networks are services made available solely to further the mission of the college. Students may not use these services for any commercial purpose.
      • Students may not use another person's account or lend their account to someone else.
      • Students must be aware of and comply with the licensing and copyright restrictions applicable to software and data files they may access. Copying software is strictly forbidden unless specifically authorized by appropriate college authority.
      • Users must respect the privacy of others; they may not access private files or communications of others, even if those files are unprotected.
      • Federal law prohibits the transmission of certain software into certain foreign nations. When in doubt, students should not send software.
      • Game playing within college computer laboratories is prohibited unless assigned as part of a course.
      • The creation, dissemination of possession of illegal or pornographic (as determined by local St. Louis standards) documents or images is strictly forbidden.
      • Students may not use the computer systems for any abusive conduct such as sending harassing messages to others, damaging any college property (hardware or software) or knowingly introducing a computer virus or other destructive program.
      • Under Missouri law, unauthorized access or interference with computer systems, computer data and other computer users is a felony.
      • Upon learning that a student has violated any part of these guidelines, which may also violate any federal or Missouri criminal statute, the college will immediately disable the student's account and turn over all pertinent information to an appropriate campus authority (usually the vice president for student affairs, and/or law enforcement agency) for further action. (Student Handbook: Campus Policies and Procedures - Computer Systems and Network Use)
  2. Combating unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials on the campus network by using "one or more technology-based deterrents."

    St. Louis Community College employs all four methods listed in the HEOA as a means of combating illegal distribution of copyrighted materials. Bandwidth shaping, traffic monitoring, a program to respond to DMCA notices and products to block or reduce illegal file sharing create an approach encompassing detection, deterrence and enforcement. See Information Technology Operating Guideline OG2011-005 for more details.
  3. Legal Alternatives for downloading

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