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SMSU Written Plan

SMSU Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions As of June 15, 2010

This is a written plan to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by network users June 15, 2010

Element 1: Technology-Based Deterrents.

Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) performs bandwidth shaping on an ongoing basis. SMSU also monitors traffic to identify largest bandwidth users. A search, monitoring and reporting tool is also utilized for logging network traffic.

Element 2: Educating and Informing the Campus Community About Inappropriate Use of Copyrighted Materials (Include Disciplinary Procedures)

A.    SMSU uses multiple mechanisms for educating and informing the campus community about appropriate versus
        inappropriate use of copyrighted materials. These mechanisms include:

1. Inclusion of a section (6b) in the SMSU Code of Conduct that specifically addresses the inappropriate downloading and distribution of materials, a summary of penalties, and a description of the institution's relevant policy (SMSU Code of Conduct). See Appendix A. The SMSU Code of Conduct is provided in the Student Handbook given to all SMSU students. The Student Handbook is also posted on the SMSU web site. Information regarding the Student Handbook and its location on the SMSU web site is also provided to prospective students.

2. SMSU's Information Technology Resources division will routinely notify the campus community via such mechanisms as e-mail, including a minimum of one annual e-mail notice, and web-based postings. Such e-mails and web postings will routinely reference the MnSCU Board Policy 5.22.1 regarding Acceptable Use of Computers and Information Technology Resources.

B.    SMSU has a process for handling unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material that includes disciplinary
       procedures. When SMSU receives a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice, an investigation will be 
       launched with available tools to determine the violator. Should a specific student be identified, the process in
       Appendix B will be utilized. In each case, the student will be required to sign a form (Appendix C) acknowledging
       he/she has been notified of the rules regarding illegal file sharing and that a second offense will result in a referral
       to the Coordinator of Student Judicial Affairs.

Element 3: Periodic Review

The University Technology Advisory Committee (UTAC) will review this plan at least once a year. The review will include an assessment of the plan's effectiveness at combating the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by campus network users. The number of DMCA notices received in the prior year will be compared against previous years as part of this assessment. Options for enhancing the plan's effectiveness will also be reviewed when necessary.

Element 4: Providing Legal Alternatives

The following list from EDUCASE will be linked off of the SMSU Information Technology Services departmental web site. Information regarding this link will also be provided in other informational materials.

Appendix A

Southwest Minnesota State University
Student Code of Conduct
Article 6(B)

Downloading or distributing copy-righted material, including peer to peer file sharing, without the permission of the copy-right owner is against the law and the SMSU Student Conduct Code. Illegal downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials can result in a student being prosecuted in criminal court and sued for damages in civil court in addition to University imposed sanctions. Criminal penalties can be up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Civil penalties of up to $150,000 per work distributed are possible in addition to attorney‘s fees and monetary damages. The use of Southwest Minnesota State University resources for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials is expressly forbidden.

Appendix B

Copyright Infringement, First Offense.

  • Student is referred to designated ITS staff member.
  • Student is contacted and via e-mail by an ITS Staff Member and told they need to come in for a short meeting. (Note: Failure to reply to the ITS Staff Member within 5 days will result in revocation of network privileges until the student comes in for the meeting.)
  • During the meeting:
         o Student is told that they have been turned in for alleged copyright infringement.
         o Student is educated on copyright infringement
         o Student signs form. (Appendix C)
         o Student is told that if there is a 2nd offense they will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs.
  • Form is retained by ITS.

Appendix C

Information Technology Services
Notification of Copyright Rules and Regulations

This document serves as a record that you have been notified of the rules regarding illegal file sharing and the consequences that can come from inappropriate use of computers and network resources belonging to Southwest Minnesota State University State University. Inappropriate use of file sharing software such as bittorrent, Kazaa, or eMule can result in academic sanctions as well as civil or criminal action being brought against you. By signing this document you acknowledge that you have been informed of these rules. You may choose not to sign this document at this time, but your network access to University resources will be revoked. The signed copy of this document will be sent to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs.

__________ I understand that sharing and downloading copyrighted material is illegal unless I have permission from the copyright holder. [2]

___________ I understand that I am not allowed to use the University’s network or computers to perform illegal activities [1]

___________ I understand that I will be held responsible for any computer activity that is done with my account, even if I share my password with someone else. [1]

___________ I understand that if I misuse the University's network or computers, I may have my network privileges suspended or revoked. [1]

___________ I understand that if I misuse the University’s network or computers, I may face sanctions from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, including probation or expulsion. [1]

___________ I understand that violating copyrights may also result in civil or criminal action being brought against me by the copyright holder. [2]



Tech ID


[1] Minnesota State Board Procedure 5.22.1, Acceptable Use of Computers and Information Technology Resources.
[2] Music United.
[3] HEOA (Higher Education Opportunity Act) dealing with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks

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