Peer-to-Peer Filing Sharing

HR 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is a re-authorization of the Higher Education Act.  It includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.  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.

The following outlines Sacred Heart University’s compliance with these requirements.

Annual Disclosure
We use a number of methods to inform our community about the law and SHU’s response to copyright infringement claims:

  • Prior to being given a user account, all users of the SHU network endorse an Acceptable Use Policy agreement that includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • SHU’s policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and our response to infringement claims are published on SHU’s web site, as well as in our Employee Handbook.
  • Each semester, all University account holders (i.e., employees and students) receive an e-mail notice from the VP of Information Technology regarding the University’s policy on copyright infringement and the issues pertaining thereto.

Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material Using “One or More Technology-Based Deterrents”

  1. Bandwidth Shaping: We employ Blue Coat PacketShaper to prioritize network traffic and to block P2P applications.
  2. Traffic Monitoring to Identify the Largest Bandwidth Users:  We have deployed Impulse SafeConnect for this purpose.  This network access control (NAC) technology enables IT staff to: (1)attribute specific network behavior with an individual, and (2)enforce devices on the network to be configured in accordance with SHU’s policies.
  3. Vigorous Program of Accepting and Responding to DMCA Notices: We are prepared to identify, and serve any warnings and/or subpoenas to, users to whom they were issued.  The process consists of (1) correlating a specified IP address to a user; (2) determining the user’s dorm room; and (3) serving the notice with a Public Safety Officer to witness or supervise.
  4. Variety of Commercial Products Designed to Reduce or Block Illegal File Sharing: We are currently using TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) to block traffic on ports associated with P2P file sharing, in conjunction with our NAC, as outlined above, which uses a policy key to deter installation and execution of P2P-type software.

Agreement to "Offer Alternatives to Illegal Downloading" 
The once-per-semester disclosure sent to all University account holders includes a list of free and paid services which allow the purchase or fair use of copyrighted material accessible through the University’s network.  This includes, but is not limited to, the resources found at the following link sponsored by Educause:

  • Peer-to-Peer Filing Sharing