Higher Education Opportunity Act

Saint Louis University Compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements

H.R. 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. It includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal sharing of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing systems. These provisions include requirements that:

  • Institutions make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps that institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • Institutions certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
  • Institutions, to the extent practicable, offer alternatives to illegal file sharing.
  • Institutions identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

Annual Disclosure Saint Louis University understands that education plays a central role in combating illegal file sharing. Saint Louis University uses a variety of methods to inform the community about the law and Saint Louis University's response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use college computing resources, all members of the Saint Louis University community must endorse the Appropriate Use Policy that includes a section on copyright compliance. The University's Appropriate Use Policy is available here.
  • Saint Louis University's policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and our response to infringement claims are published annually in the Student Handbook and are available on Saint Louis University's website here.
  • At the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, all members of the Saint Louis University community will receive an email from the Vice President and Chief Information Officer regarding copyright infringement and related issues and restating Saint Louis University's commitment to the DMCA policy.

Plans to Effectively Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
The Saint Louis University network comprises four primary segments, one of which is provided for student access to the Internet. P2P file sharing is either prohibited or strictly throttled on the three network segments provided for staff and visitors. P2P file sharing is not restricted by technical means on the network segment provided for student use in the student resident halls. Saint Louis University employs several technologies to monitor traffic and user activity. These technologies include packet shapers, intrusion detection systems, and campus management systems. While student Internet use is not restricted, it is monitored. These tools alert Saint Louis University to excessive file sharing ; they also allow Saint Louis University to identify specific users who have engaged in suspicious file sharing. Saint Louis University has identified an individual in the Department of Information Technology Services with responsibility for receiving, reviewing, and responding to DMCA takedown notices. In coordination with the Office of Student Development, Information Technology Services uses the technology tools described above to identify individuals responsible for illegal sharing and to apply sanctions up to and including suspension of Internet access.

Civil and Criminal Penalties
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 In addition to the sanctions described by Saint Louis University policies, civil and criminal penalties may apply to users who infringe copyrights. 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, at its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For detail, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504 and 505. Willful infringement also can 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 website of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov. Students also are responsible for observing the policies, rules, and regulations of the University. Failure to comply with established laws or University policies may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct pursuant to Section 2.4 of the Code of Student Conduct.