Policies & Procedures


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.


Music-Piracy Warnings May Be the Biggest Batch Yet


The Recording Industry Association of America this month fired off 569 "pre-litigation settlement letters" to college students whom it suspected of pirating music. The letters appear to be the largest batch sent since the RIAA began an expanded campaign in February 2007.

Most previous waves of letters went to about 400 students each, according to press releases on the RIAA's Web site. Students who receive such letters are identified after RIAA investigators download music available on the students' computers, said Jonathan Lamy, and RIAA spokesman.

Whether merely making a song "available," without proof that another party has illegally copied and downloaded it, constitutes copyright infringement has been questioned in several recent court decisions.
Upon receiving the letters, students have the option of paying the RIAA several thousand dollars to avoid going to court and potentially facing higher penalties. Mr. Lamy said the latest wave of letters was unrelated to bills in Congress that would revamp copyright-infringement penalties and university requirements for curbing on-campus file sharing.

Twenty-six institutions received letters last week. The University of Texas at Austin topped the list with 75 notices, and three University of Wisconsin campuses — Oshkosh, Parkside, and River Falls — brought up the rear with one apiece.

Officials from several other universities, not on the list the RIAA supplied to The Chronicle, have recently reported sizable increases in the number of letters they have received.

Section: Information Technology
Volume 54, Issue 33, Page A16


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An Open Letter to the Rowan Community

From Anthony Mordosky, Associate Provost for Information Resources

I would like to take a moment of your time to talk to you about the laws and policies concerning digital copyrights.

Rowan's network infrastructure is an essential University asset. Access to the Rowan network is provided to faculty, staff, and students primarily to support University related endeavors. Given its importance, the proper operation of the network is important to us all. A key component of this is Rowan's compliance with the copyright and information security laws.

We regularly receive notifications from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) regarding copyrighted materials being shared on the Rowan network.

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (a federal law which protects the interests of copyright holders in regard to digital media), Rowan University is obligated to locate the specific individuals and ask them to remove the copyrighted files from their computers. If they do not, the University is required under the DMCA to turn off their network access. While the DMCA has been in effect since 1997, it has only been in recent years that the RIAA and MPAA (the organizations that represent the U.S. recording and movie industries) have been more aggressively attempting to enforce their copyright.

Many users of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications such as BitTorrent, AresWarez, BitComet, Morpheus, DirectConnect and Limewire may be, whether they are aware of it or not, engaging in illegal activity by trading copyrighted works. Downloading and sharing copyrighted music, movies and other media through these P2P networks, while seemingly harmless, is considered stealing and is against the law unless the copyright holder has explicitly granted permission to do so.

Many users are under the false assumption that by not providing any personal information, or providing false information, there is some anonymity when using these P2P applications. However, any activity on the Internet can be tracked back through your Internet Service Provider to your computer. Rowan University, as your Internet Service Provider when you are on campus, dialed in or connected to our VPN, is required to follow the rules and regulations as stated in the DMCA and expend all reasonable effort to enforce this law.

Large copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America continue to use legal action as a way to enforce their copyright. Together they have brought more than a 1,000 lawsuits against alleged infringers, a number of them students in colleges and universities. Here at Rowan last year we processed almost 100 copyright infringement notices and have received over 40 already this semester.

While we have never received any subpoenas for the identity of a user to date (the first step a copyright holder takes toward legal action) we do want all users to know that if properly served, the University would have to comply with the law and provide the user's identity.

The Rowan University community needs to be aware of the seriousness of these violations and what the consequences could be. The University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of the Rowan network for the educational and research purposes for which it was designed. I urge faculty, staff, and students to become familiar with the laws pertaining to the use of digital material (www.rowan.edu/toolbox/policies/dmca) and to comply with federal law and University policy regarding use of copyrighted materials.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Office of the Associate Provost for Information Resources by calling 256-4401 or sending e-mail to oapir@rowan.edu

Anthony J. Mordosky
Associate Provost for IR/CIO
Rowan University

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What is the DMCA?

U.S. Copyright Law protects a wide range of creative works and grants to the owner of the work the exclusive right to make copies of the work, to make new works using part of the original work, distribute copies of the work, and display or perform the work publicly. Works protected by copyright include: written works, movies, music, photographs, art, software, and other original works of authorship.

A provision in Copyright Law known as the DMCA allows internet service providers to shield themselves from liability for copyright infringement due to infringing activity by users of the service provider's networks. Owners of copyright materials, including record companies, movie studios and software manufacturers, routinely monitor internet traffic and identify IP addresses that are hosting or sharing files that appear to be unauthorized copies of the owners' works. In compliance with the DMCA, the copyright owners notify the service provider and the service provider must expeditiously remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing material. The individual responsible for infringing activity, not the service provider, will be responsible should the copyright owner wish to seek damages for infringing activity.

Text borrowed from the University of Washington

What does this all mean at Rowan? Only the owner of copyrighted material may distribute that material. The DMCA allows the University, as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), a way to limit its liability of being sued should a user on the University's network distribute copyrighted material illegally. Copyright owners or their representatives regularly scan the University's network to locate instances of copyright infringement; they notify the University of the infringement, and the University must respond by removing access to the infringing material. A computer's owner is responsible for any infringing activity on it.

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Copyright Policy

All Rowan users must respect the copyrights in works that are accessible through computers connected to the Rowan network. Federal copyright law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display or public performance of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under copyright law applies. In appropriate circumstances, Rowan will terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyrights of others, and may also take disciplinary action.

Information about the application of copyright law to peer-to-peer file sharing of music, movies and other copyrighted works is available.

View the complete Web Policy here

Questions About the Web Policy Should be Directed to:

The Office of the Associate Provost
Division of Information Resources
Memorial Hall

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Information Resources’ Procedure for Handling Copyright Infringement Notices

    • All copyright infringement notices are received by the Associate Provost for IR
    • Copy of all received notices are sent to a group of Network and System Services administrators via the group email DCMA
    • An NSS administrator will investigate the IP address from the complaint to determine the user.
    • The identified user is contacted and informed we have received a notice that alleges copyright infringement
    • User is notified that if they did download the alleged material to remove it from their computer and turn off any peer-to-peer software they may be running.

      • The administrator typically has to explain what this means since many are unaware of the software they are utilizing.

    •  They are also informed of the procedure IR will follow if we receive a second complaint about them.
    • On receiving a second complaint about a campus constituent the following steps are taken:

      • Their network access is suspended.
      • The issue is referred to the Student Judicial Board of the campus for appropriate action.
      • Network access is not restored until after ruling by Student Judicial Board if appropriate.


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    Q: What is copyrighted material?

    Copyrighted material that is illegally distributed over the Internet can take many forms including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Music: may take the form of MP3s or WAV files either ripped (or copied) from CDs or downloaded and redistributed without permission.
    • Movies or Television Shows which have been recorded and digitized, ripped (or copied) from DVDs, DVRs or TV Cards.
    • Written works: may take the form of eBooks, PDFs, or HTML pages distibuted without permisson.
    • Photographs: includes graphics copied from other web sites.
    • Software: includes software applications such as games, operating systems, applications that were not purched by you and have no valid license.

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    Q: How are copyrighted material distributed illegally?

    Copyrighted material is illegally distributed over the Internet by several methods including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Peer-to-peer (P2P) software: consists of many computers connected in a network for uploading and downloading files; these networks use software like BitTorrent, AresWarez, BitComet, Morpheus, DirectConnect, Limewire and many more. (More information about P2P...)
    • FTP (file transfer protocol): consists of one computer serving files to its clients on a continual basis.
    • IRC (internet relay chat): a form of realtime internet chat through which users can create file servers that allow them to share files with others. (More information about IRC...)

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    Q: How can a copyright holder find out if I have copyrighted materials on my computer?

    Copyright holders can search the Internet to determine whether copyrighted material is being illegally distributed. They often search with the same peer-to-peer software (KaZaA, Bit Torrent, mIRC, AresWarez etc..) used by those who share files. To avoid any problems, make sure that you are not making any files available for download that you do not have permission from the copyright owner to share. The simplest way to comply with this is to delete the files or to turn off/uninstall any file sharing software you have on your computer.

    When an infinging file is found, a copyright infringement notice is issued to the network provider from which the file was transmitted. Many users sharing illegal files are under the false assumption that by not providing any personal information, or providing false information, there is some anonymity when using these P2P applications. However, any activity on the Internet can be tracked back through your Internet Service Provider to your computer. Rowan University, as your Internet Service Provider when you are on campus, will recieve these notices, lookup the computer by IP address and forward the warning.

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    Q: If my computer is found to have copyrighted materials, what steps can the copyright holder take against me?

    Copyright owners can file civil suits to recover damages and costs. In many cases, statutory damages of up to $30,000, or up to $150,000 for willful infringement, may be awarded even if there is no proof of actual damages. In addition, in certain cases of willful infringement, the government can file criminal charges, which can result in substantial fines and imprisonment. Use of an academic network does not provide immunity from copyright law, nor can Rowan protect its students, faculty, or staff from criminal investigations or lawsuits relating to their personal actions.

    Q: What penalties could I face?

    Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws
    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 www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

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    Q: How does illegally distributed material, or sharing that material, affect me?

    Illegal file sharing affects every user on the Rowan University network. If you are on the University's network either in an office, in a residence hall, in a public lab, or a visitor to our network from off-campus, you can experience the affects of slower Internet speed resulting from illegal file sharing. Most file sharing software also comes bundled with malware such as spyware or adware. Sometimes this malware remains installed on the system even if the original file sharing software is removed, and can be very difficult to eliminate. In many cases such malware can interfere with the correct operation of web browsers, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, software firewalls and can cause degraded performance on affected systems. If you are faculty, staff, or a student using the University network and you are distributing files illegally you may experience:

    • Increased virus attacks against your computer. (Especially if using a P2P network)
    • Spyware installed on your computer without your knowledge. (Especially if using P2P software)
    • Potential lawsuits.

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    Q: How do I prevent potential copyright problems?

    Do not share copyrighted material and uninstall any file sharing software on your computer. If you never install a peer-to-peer program, you will dramatically reduce the chances of your computer being infected by a virus, installing spyware, or being sued.

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    Q: Is it legal to download or store copyrighted materials on my computer?

    Generally, you are infringing copyright if you download or share copyrighted materials on your computer without the permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under copyright law applies. Most downloading over the Internet of commercially available copyrighted works, such as music or movies, through file sharing systems is illegal.

    If you purchase/download music, movies or other copyrighted material legally, via iTunes or other legal sites, you are well within your rights unless you then share that material with others who have not paid for it. That would be a copyright violation.

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    Q: Where can I download legally?

    A number of services exist where you can legally download music, software, television shows and movies.

    You can now also watch many television shows and other video free at the following sites:


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