General University Policies Manual
Effective: 10/14/2010


The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008 and regulations for implementing the law were issued by the Department of Education on October 29, 2009.  Several sections of the HEOA are designed to reduce the illegal distribution of copyrighted works, including the unauthorized uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing on campus networks.  These provisions require all U.S. colleges and universities to:

  • Provide an annual disclosure to current and prospective students describing copyright law and campus policies related to copyright infringement, including penalties and liabilities for unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing;
  • Create a 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;
  • Offer alternatives to illegal downloading, to the extent practicable; and
  • Identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plan to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

Oregon State University (“the University”) complies with the HEOA by the following:

1. Annual Disclosure.  At the beginning of each Fall term,  the following statement (“P2P Policy”) will be incorporated into the Registration Information Handbook for all students and sent to all students in a stand-alone email:

Institutional policies and sanctions related to the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material: The University takes copyright infringement seriously.  As set forth in the Acceptable Use of University Computing Resources  policy (located at, all students must abide by federal and state copyright laws when using University computing or network resources. The unauthorized publishing or use of copyrighted material on the University computer network is strictly prohibited and users are personally liable for the consequences of such unauthorized use. This specifically applies to Peer-to-Peer or P2P file-sharing of copyrighted music and movies.  Students should be aware that by engaging in unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material, they not only violate University policy, but they may also be held criminally and civilly liable by federal and/or state authorities. 

Under current copyright law, criminal cases of copyright violation carry a penalty of up to five (5) years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Civil penalties for copyright infringement include a minimum fine of $750 for each work. Oregon State University will subject students who violate this policy to discipline as appropriate.  For a first-time violation of this copyright policy, students are required to pass a copyright quiz within 72-hours or else their network access is disabled.  Repeated infringement is subject to disciplinary action by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, up to and including expulsion from the University.


2. Plan to effectively combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.  OSU takes the following steps to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials:

  1. We employ a network device to “shape” and prioritize all traffic.  Using this tool, we specifically restrict all P2P traffic to a minimum allotment of University resources and give it the lowest priority. 
  2. We limit our wireless network to “inbound” traffic only, with the intent of effectively eliminating the ability of those individual computers to act as servers for any kind of content including copyrighted material.
  3. We limit access to our network to registered hosts only.  Hosts can only be registered on the wireless network by individuals with an active University account or by department IT personnel.
  4. We monitor our network for the largest bandwidth users and other activity that tends to suggest unauthorized file sharing.  When we discover a registered owner consuming excessive bandwidth or otherwise engaging in activities that may point to illegal file sharing, we contact the registered owner to ensure that he or she is aware of what their machine is doing on the network and that it complies with University policies.  During that process, we also make sure the registered owner is educated about the University’s policies regarding illegal file sharing.
  5. Our Acceptable Use of University Computing Resources policy explicitly prohibits unauthorized publishing of copyrighted material, and all campus community members are required to acknowledge and accept this policy before being granted access to University Computing Resources.  We require registered owners to separately agree to this P2P Policy, in addition to their agreement to the entire Acceptable Use Policy.
  6. We respond promptly to all Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices of unauthorized copyright use according to policies published on our web site at .  Data regarding DMCA take-down notifications issued to the University will be in the annual security report issued by the Chief Information Security Officer. 
  7. Computing support staff, including student help desk workers, are regularly trained on the University’s copyright policy.
  8. This P2P Policy will be included in the Fall Registration handbook for all students, emailed separately to all students on an annual basis and posted on a website that is readily accessible to all current and prospective students.  We will also send an email to all new students shortly after they register for network access, educating them about this P2P Policy.


3. Plan to offer legal alternatives for illegal file sharing.  OSU maintains a list of legal alternative sources for music, movies or other digital content on our web site at , and we encourage students to take advantage of these legal methods.


4. Review of effectiveness of copyright infringement deterrence plan.   As part of our annual information security assessment, we will review the efficacy and operation of our copyright infringement deterrence plan.   This assessment will include, for example, a review of information regarding bandwidth use, DMCA takedown notices, student conduct proceedings, and repeat offenders.