Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) Compliance

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plan for Combating Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Materials

The University of Illinois is committed to respecting of U.S. copyright law. In accordance with campus policy, the University does not inspect the contents of digital media traversing the campus network. However the campus has articulated a rigorous program designed to discourage illegal peer to peer file sharing (such as movies and music), respond to copyright infringement notices when these are sent to the campus, and educate the campus community about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to copyright. This website documents the elements of this program as described by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)

The plan to effectively combat copyright infringement

Technology Based Deterrents

The Department of Education has identified four acceptable “technology-based” deterrents. The University of Illinois uses one of these to reduce the amount copyright infringement over Peer To Peer (P2P) networks.

The University of Illinois accepts and vigorously responds to DMCA notices in a timely fashion.

A copyright infringement notice is sent to The notice is examined to determine if the infringing device is located on the campus network.

In a given academic year, individuals that are identified for an alleged copyright violations are notified by the University and are provided educational material informing them on copyright law, fair use, and ways to legally download music and movies.  These University notifications are provided for the first and second alleged violations.  If a third violation is alleged with the same individual, access to the internet is shut off for 72 hours.

If more than 3 violations are alleged with the same individual and they are a student, the student is informed of the requirement to meet with a disciplinary officer and that their internet access will remain shut down until such a meeting takes place. The disciplinary officer will meet with the student to discuss the nature of the violation and University policy regarding copyright infringement. The disciplinary officer may impose formal sanctions ranging from a University Reprimand to Conduct Probation, or make a referral to an appropriate disciplinary committee for a Dismissal proceeding. Formal sanctions will vary depending on the severity of the violation or if the offense has been a part of a larger pattern of misbehavior. The disciplinary officer may also assign educational sanctions and restrictions to teach the students the importance of this policy and lessen the likelihood of a reoccurrence. After this process is completed, the student’s access to internet resources is restored.

If more than 3 violations are alleged with the same individual and they are a faculty or staff member, the notice is sent on to their department head and Human Resources for appropriate disciplinary action.

Community Education and Annual Disclosure to Students

The University of Illinois utilizes a variety of techniques to educate the campus community about copyright and their responsibilities to respect copyright. These education components are created and presented by a variety of units on campus including but not limited to, the library, the Dean of Students office and campus information technology organizations. Here are just some of the specific programs utilized by the University of Illinois to educate the campus community about copyright:

  • An email notification is sent to students at the beginning of every school year by September 30th. This email points to the University’s web presence on copyright. It also provides basic information about the University’s copyright policies.
  • Informational websites provide students, faculty and staff with information about copyright law and policies. These web sites offer links to legal download sites, resources about copyright, and often scenarios to help students, faculty and staff navigate common copyright issues.
  • Computer security orientations for faculty and staff talk about campus copyright policies and responsibilities.
  • Web sites on campus provide information about copyright law, University policies in regard to copyright, and other information including fair use. Some of these sites can be found under the Copyright Resource page.

Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The University of Illinois does not have any agreements with outside content providers to provide legal downloads to students. Copyright education web sites at the University of Illinois do provide information about legal download resources, including a link to EduCause’s updated list of legal download sites.

Copyright Policies at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois has incorporated copyright law into several parts of University policy.

The Student Code in §1-302(n) forbids the abuse of computers on campus. Subsection (6) specifically provides forbids “the use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.”

More generally, §1-302(r) forbids, “(c)ommiting or attempting to commit any act which would be a violation of local, state, or federal law on or off University property, when such behavior is detrimental to the University community’s interest.”

In addition, The Policy On Appropriate Use Of Computers And Network Systems At The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign states, “The use of computing and network services provided by the campus is subject to all applicable state and federal laws, as well as general University and campus policies.”

The University General Rules discuss copyright issues, but they are mostly concerned with ownership of works created by faculty or students. However, the General Rules do state that units engaging in activities that include copyright protected materials are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

Federal penalties for copyright infringement

Federal 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. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees and award other remedies. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment and fines. For more details, see Title 17, United States Code, Chapter 5.

Periodic Review of Copyright Education AND DETERRENCE at the University

The University has created a Copyright Education Taskforce made up of representatives from different units on campus, and charged with coordinating copyright educational and deterrence efforts on campus. The Copyright Education Taskforce will meet periodically to review the copyright education and deterrence efforts at the University. Reviews of these coordinated education and deterrence efforts will also take place when considerable changes to the law, regulations or other events require.

In the beginning, the Taskforce will primarily gauge the effectiveness of the copyright education and deterrence efforts on campus by examining the number of repeat offenders. Over time, as resources allow, student surveys and other evidence may be taken into account to determine effectiveness.