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File Sharing and Copyright Infringement

Higher Education Opportunity Act

King University Compliance November, 2016

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) identifies three requirements for higher education institutions in regards to unauthorized file sharing:

  • An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and University policies related to violating that law.
  • A plan to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • A plan to offer alternatives to illegal downloading.

This document describes King University’s approach to complying with these provisions and the University’s method for assessing compliance.

Distributing Annual Disclosure

Within the first three weeks of each fall semester, a disclosure statement will be sent via e-mail to all enrolled students. The actual disclosure statement to be used is attached to this document.

Combating Unauthorized Distribution

The University employs a traffic-limiting device which severely restricts peer-to-peer applications that are often used for illegal file sharing. The University also responds promptly to complaints submitted by copyright holders as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This response includes a preliminary investigation by Information Technology and possible disciplinary referral to Student Life.

Offering Alternatives to Illegal Downloading

The University encourages students to use streaming and downloading from organizations which have acquired legal rights to distribute copyrighted materials. There are a large variety of such services:

Major content producers (television networks, independent film producers, musicians): Sample sites include,, and

Streaming services with licensed content: Sample sites include, and

Store sites that aggregate and sell content for downloading: Sample sites include:

As of the date of this writing (October, 2016), Educause maintains an extensive list of sources for legal content:

Assessing Compliance

As part of its routine assessment, Information Technology will document compliance with each major requirement of the HOEA in regards to file sharing (distributing annual disclosure, combating unauthorized distribution, offering alternatives to illegal downloading).

The Annual Disclosure Statement


As part of the University’s requirements under the Higher Education Opportunity Act please take the time to read the excerpt from the student handbook concerning copyright and the summary of civil and criminal penalties for violation copyright law below.

Thank you,

Joel Robertson

Chief Information Officer

King University

Handbook: Illegal Downloading and/or Sharing of Copyrighted Materials

King University network connections may not be used to violate copyright laws. The unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials, including illegal downloading or sharing of copyrighted music, movies, books, etc., is a serious violation of King University’s Network Usage Policy, the King University Honor Code, as well the U.S. Copyright Laws. Violators may have their network privileges suspended, and will be subject to the student conduct process. In addition, violators may be referred to an appropriate law enforcement agency.


Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws United States Department of Education

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

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 affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For willful infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ’s at