HEOA and Copyright Violations


The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted material through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. These provisions include requirements that:

  • Institutions certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed plans to “effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
  • Institutions make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps that institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • Institutions publicize alternatives to illegal file sharing.

This document outlines TCU’s plan to comply with these requirements.

Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

TCU currently employs bandwidth-shaping technology to prioritize network traffic. We limit the amount of bandwidth available to P2P applications but we do not filter such applications since much of the traffic is legal.

TCU responds promptly to legitimate notices or letters of illegal copyright infringement based on the requirements of Digital Millennium Copyright Act and sent to our DMCA agent address. This procedure is detailed on the TCU Copyright Violations page.

Annual Disclosure and Education

Consistent with our educational principles, we view education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials at TCU. We use a wide variety of methods to inform our community about the law and TCU’s response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use TCU computing resources, all members of the TCU Community agree to abide by the TCU Computing Resources Policy that includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • Each year through the Dean’s letter TCU informs students about the issues surrounding file sharing and information on TCU’s stance against illegal copyright infringement.
  • Each year TCU participates in the October Cyber Security Awareness campaign which includes information on copyright law and illegal file sharing.
  • TCU maintains a web page with information on copyright issues and TCU’s responses on the TCU Copyright Information page.
  • TCU will provide upon request to any incoming or current student the instruction to access the TCU Copyright Information page as well as the directions to this plan.

Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

TCU does not block access from campus to legitimate sources of copyrighted material. Although we cannot maintain an up-to-date list of alternatives we point students to the Educause list at http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent.

Maintenance of this plan

TCU will review this plan each year to insure it is current and maintains the appropriate and necessary information to effectively combat illegal file sharing.