Legal Use and Distribution of Copyrighted Material


On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Higher Education Opportunity Act (the “HEOA”), which reauthorized the Higher Education Act of 1965. On October 29, 2009, the Department of Education issued final regulations implementing the HEOA. The regulations are effective July 1, 2010.

The HEOA includes provisions that are designed to reduce the unauthorized online distribution of copyright-infringing material. Specifically, the HEOA requires the University of San Diego to:

  • Certify that the university has developed and implemented written plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by users of the university’s network, without unduly interfering with educational and research use of the network.
  • Offer alternatives to illegal file sharing, to the extent practicable.
  • Make disclosures to students and prospective students regarding the university’s policies and sanctions related to copyright infringement.

This document describes the University of San Diego’s plans to comply with these requirements.                   

Plans to Effectively Combat the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

The University of San Diego has implemented a variety of steps to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material:

  • Technology-Based Deterrents. The University of San Diego uses several tools and/or appliances to reduce or eliminate the sharing of copyrighted material on or to our network. The Network Access Control (“NAC”) device enforces our policy of no peer-to-peer (“P2P”) applications on computers, whether wired or wireless. Compliance is mandatory or access to the Internet is denied. USD’s Packet Shaper appliance classifies traffic by protocol and will restrict or throttle known P2P applications that might be classified as P2P protocols limiting the amount of bandwidth, making it nearly impossible to download any movie, music or other copyrighted material. USD’s firewalls also can block specific traffic as a last resort.
  • Education. We use a variety of methods to inform our campus community about copyright compliance and how the University of San Diego responds to copyright infringement claims. As a condition of using university computing resources, all members of the University of San Diego community must agree on an annual basis to abide by the Policy on Responsible Use of University Computing Resources, which specifically requires the user to comply with copyright laws. Information about copyright compliance is made available on the university’s website and through training sessions. USD’s Information Technology Services has a documented process for handling reports or notices of copyright violations. The process includes data collection requirements for each notice, notification of user, penalties for first and second offenses and termination of network privileges.
  • Periodic Review of the Plan. The University of San Diego will periodically review the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by users of the university’s network. The university will review relevant information, such as data regarding network traffic and the volume of DMCA notices received, to assess the overall effectiveness of the university’s policy to promote the legal use of copyrighted materials.

Legal Alternatives for Acquiring Copyrighted Material

EDUCAUSE maintains a list of legal alternatives for downloading or otherwise acquiring music, video, images, or other copyrighted material. See

Annual Disclosure

At the start of each new academic year, a joint communication from the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chief Information Officer will be sent to all students regarding the university’s policies and sanctions relating to copyright infringement. In addition, all such information will be made available upon request to enrolled and prospective students of the university. For more information regarding the sanctions relating to copyright infringement, please see: http://www.sandiego.edufacts/heoa/infringement.php.

(June 30, 2010)