Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)

Compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing Requirements


The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008. Proposed regulations for implementing the Act were issued by the Department of Education on August 21, 2009, and final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009.

This new legislation requires colleges and universities to implement controls against illegal file sharing or risk losing Federal financial aid funding for students.
Enforcement of the HEOA provisions began July 1, 2010, and all colleges and universities are required to make a good-faith effort at compliance. 

Several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, imposing requirements on all U.S. colleges and universities.
It has requirements designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.

Specifically, HEOA requires institutions to:

  1. Provide an annual disclosure which informs students that illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties. The disclosure includes the steps that institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  2. Document the plans to "effectively combat" unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material and "the use of one or more technology-based deterrents."
  3. Offer alternatives to illegal file sharing to the extent practical.

Kent State University's Plan to Effectively Combat Copyright Infringement

Part 1: Annual Disclosure

Kent State University will use the following methods to inform the students and university community about copyright law and our response to copyright infringements.

  • Annually all residential incoming students will receive information in their welcome packets that informs them about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the risks of unauthorized P2P file sharing using the campus network.
  • Computer support staff, including student employees, are made aware of legalities associated with peer to peer file sharing.
  • Student employee handbook has section outlining the DMCA and copyright infringements
  • Student Residential Hall Directors and RA's will be provided a presentation and educational material on DMCA copyright law and illegal peer-to-peer policies during annual orientation
  • Posters will be mounted in student computer labs and Residence Halls
  • Fliers and information will be distributed at Destination Kent State (DKS) that inform students of the DMCA and copyright infringement risks when they arrive on campus and join the KSU network
  • Content will be maintained on our website providing educational materials about copyright infringement , links to external sites that provide information on P2P, copyright law and links to legal alternatives
  • A summary of penalties for violating federal copyright laws and KSU's policies and procedures will be posted, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials on the network.

Part 2: Technology Based Deterrents

KSU currently employs bandwidth-shaping technology to prioritize network traffic and limiting the amount of bandwidth available to P2P applications.

The University quickly responds to legitimate and properly formed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices when received. Upon receipt of a DMCA notice, the University reviews network activity logs to validate the notice's legitimacy. If the notice appears valid, the University blocks the offending computer's network access until the infringing material is removed or a justification counter notice is provided.

The University notifies each offender with an e-mail that contains a copy of the original infringement notice and the following instructions:

  • The removal of the copyrighted material
  • Completion of an educational course that includes the DMCA and copyright infringement
  • Passing score of 100% on quiz that covers DMCA and copyright law
  • Signing an acknowledgement that the infringed copyrighted material has been removed

Third Offenses are referred to the Office of Student Conduct for additional sanctions, up to and including possible expulsion from the University. KSU does not provide any personal identifying information to the sender of the notices, unless the notice is accompanied or followed by a lawfully issued subpoena.

Notifications are sent to the sender of the infringement notice if requested to do so, that explains our actions taken for removal of the copyrighted material.

Part 3: Offer Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The University is committed to making students aware of legal options for downloading and sharing music, movies, and other digital media. There are many sites on the Internet that offer the opportunity to legally purchase (and in some cases download for free) music, movies, and games.

Use the resources found in Enjoy Music and Videos Responsibly to enjoy digital media LEGALLY. Some of the resources make music available to you at no charge; others offer digital media at a reasonable cost.

Review of the Combat Plan Per Semester

Kent State University will review the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials each semester. A combination of statistics from the office of Security and Access Management and tracking of DMCA copyright infringement notices received will be the criteria used in evaluating the effectiveness of the current plan. Some of the statistics may include ''before and after" comparisons of bandwidth used for peer-to-peer applications, and reductions of the number of legitimate copyright infringement notices received from copyright holders.


This page is maintained by the Department of Infrastructure Engineering's DMCA Compliance Team
Email: copyright@kent.edu
Phone: 330-672-9329