HEOA Compliance Plan 2023-2024

Higher Education Opportunity Act Compliance Plan for NC State University, 2023-2024 Academic Year

Publication Date:  August 2023

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Annual Disclosure
3. Copyright Infringement Combat Plan
3a. Educational Campaign
3b. University Policies and Regulations that Govern Illegal File Sharing
3c. Technology-Based Deterrents
3d. Reviews, Metrics and Reports
4. A Plan to Offer Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing
5. References
6. Contacts
7. HEOA Committee Members

1. Introduction

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 imposes three general requirements on US colleges and universities with regard to unauthorized file sharing on campus networks:

  1. An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies pertaining to copyright violations
  2. A written plan to “effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials“ by users of its network, including “the use of one or more technology-based deterrents,“ and periodic reviews of the plan and its success (metrics) on the limitation of illegal copyrighted distribution
  3. A plan to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading“

NC State’s plan to address these requirements during the 2023-2024 academic year is described below.

2. Annual Disclosure

In September 2023, NC State will electronically distribute a University Annual Notice from the Chancellor, the Provost and the CIO that addresses students, faculty and staff.

The annual disclosure will provide the following:

  • Describe both appropriate and inappropriate uses of copyrighted material,
  • Warn computer users who engage in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, that they may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities,
  • Summarize penalties for violation of federal copyright law, using the wording recommended by the U.S. Department of Education, and
  • Refer students to the university policies and regulations that pertain to peer-to-peer file sharing, including disciplinary actions the university may take against students who unlawfully download or distribute copyrighted material by means of university technology resources.

These notices will also be made available on the NC State website. The annual notices will be sent directly to each enrolled student, faculty and staff by email, and also be continuously available via OIT’s Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing webpage. Notices will also be available upon request, in electronic or hard copy form, to all enrolled students, prospective students and employees.

3. Copyright Infringement Combat Plan

Our plan to effectively combat copyright infringement is composed of the following elements:

  • An educational campaign to promote awareness among our students,
  • University policies and regulations to govern copyright infringement and its consequences,
  • A technology-based deterrent to prevent copyright infringement via illegal file sharing, and
  • The collection and periodic evaluation of data to analyze trends in illegal file sharing in the campus computing environment.

3a. Educational Campaign

NC State will educate the university community by means of both a) published resources and b) orientation programs for new employees and incoming students and their parents about the legal ramifications and the consequences of sharing copyrighted material with peer-to-peer transfer applications.

Published Resources

During the 2023-2024 academic year, NC State will include content about sharing copyrighted material in the following university print and online publications:

Orientation Programs for Incoming Students

Throughout Summer 2023, the university provided mandatory orientation programming for a) incoming freshmen and their parents, and b) transfer students. Office of Information Technology (OIT) staff presented at these orientation sessions for incoming students via online and in-person. In their presentations, OIT staff explained the risks and consequences of copyright violations that may occur if students share files illegally.

3b. University Policies and Regulations that Govern Illegal File Sharing

The university has adopted the following policies and regulations relevant to the issue of copyright infringement that occurs by means of illegal file sharing:

3c. Technology-based deterrents

NC State employs a vigorous program of accepting and responding to DMCA notices, and leveraging technology to enable timely response processing. The university maintains a DMCA email address. When the university receives notification of an alleged copyright violation at this address, tickets are automatically generated within ServiceNow for the OIT incident management system. NC State’s processes for responding to DMCA notifications are tracked through ServiceNow. Staff from OIT analyze incoming requests and use network reporting tools to attempt to locate the alleged infringer. Following identification, the complaint is forwarded either to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) or Employee Relations (ER), as applicable.

Student Notifications 

OIT sends student-related DMCA notifications to OSC. As long as students respond to DMCA notices within five days, OSC considers first offenses as educational opportunities rather than disciplinary cases. Repeat offenders follow the OSC disciplinary process. Possible sanctions may include, but are not limited to, required training and loss of network access. OIT and OSC continue to refine the consequences for students who infringe copyright via illegal file sharing.

University Employee Notifications 

OIT receives DMCA notifications for particular IP addresses and investigates to determine the person’s name associated with a given IP address. If the person is a university employee, OIT sends the person’s name to ER. ER informs the appropriate college or department administration of the potential violation of REG 08.00.02 – Computer Use Regulation and/or related policies. ER may partner with administrators and/or managers to address the issue appropriately.

3d. Reviews, Metrics and Reports

NC State monitors the number of DMCA notifications it receives and looks for trends. The committee on Illegal Peer-to-Peer file sharing meets annually to evaluate the content and distribution methods of the materials in the educational campaign and adapt them to address trends in the number of DMCA notifications.

4. A Plan to Offer Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes that individual institutions, national associations and commercial entities develop and maintain up-to-date lists of legal alternatives to illegal downloading. Because the Department of Education has stated that universities may refer to external sites/lists for compliance to this provision, in the academic year 2023-2024 NC State will continue to refer students and employees to the current list of legal sources of online content on the EDUCAUSE HEOA pages.

5. References

NC State OIT FAQ for Peer-to-Peer Transfers and Copyright Protection
NC State OIT Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing
NC State OIT IT Services for Students
NC State POL 11.35.01 – Code of Student Conduct
NC State POL 08.00.01 – Computer Use Policy
NC State REG 01.25.02 – Copyright Infringement – Policy Statement
NC State REG 01.25.03 – Copyright Regulation
NC State REG 08.00.02 – Computer Use Regulation
EDUCAUSE Higher Education and Opportunities Act and P2P website
EDUCAUSE 7 Things You Should Know about P2P
U.S. Copyright Office Law and Regulations
U.S. Copyright Office Summary of the DMCA
U.S. Department of Education Higher Education Opportunity Act – 2008

6. Contacts

For matters concerning copyright law:  

Shawn Troxler, Associate General Counsel – Office of General Counsel

For DMCA copyright issues: 

Damon Armour, Director, Security & Compliance, University DMCA Copyright Agent – Office of Information Technology

7. HEOA Committee Members

Dr. Marc Hoit, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO – Office of Information Technology
Mardecia Bell, Chief Information Security Officer – Office of Information Technology
Greg Sparks, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Communication Technologies – Office of Information Technology
Danny Davis, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Technology Support Services – Office of Information Technology
Keith Medlin, Director, DASA Technology Services – Division of Academic and Student Affairs
Bradley Davis, Associate Director, Office of Student Conduct – Division of Academic and Student Affairs
Damon Armour,  Director, Security & Compliance, University DMCA Copyright Agent – Office of Information Technology
Sarah Noell, Associate Director, Outreach, Communications & Consulting – Office of Information Technology
Michael Jung, Associate General Counsel – Office of General Counsel
Dan O’Brien, Director of Employee Relations – University Human Resources
Anna Szamosi, Chief Compliance Officer – Office of General Counsel