Digital Millennium Copyright (D-42)
Original Implementation: July 27, 1999
Last Revision: April 19, 2011
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) creates a liability limitation for Internet service providers (ISP) for certain copyright infringements created on-line. The university serves as an ISP for faculty, staff, and students. The DMCA establishes procedures whereby, upon receipt of proper complaints, the university will block access to or take down allegedly infringing material and notify the Web page owner of the complaint. The alleged infringer may issue a properly executed counter-notice, upon receipt of which, the university shall re-post the material in 10-14 days (unless there is court action), and immediately forward such counter-notice to the original complainant. Repeat infringers will be subject to termination of Internet service by the university. It is the policy of the university to comply with these safe haven procedures created by the DMCA.
- Registered Agent
The university general counsel shall be designated as the registered agent for receipt of DMCA complaints. The complaint resolution team may include the following positions: manager of systems, assistant systems manager, library director, associate library director for information service, university webmaster, director of student rights and responsibilities, director of student activities, and general counsel. Upon receipt of a DMCA complaint, relevant team members shall be responsible for assessing the complaint and determining the exact location of the alleged infringing material. Assessing the complaint would include a determination of whether the complaint contains all necessary elements, and whether the complaint involves the university in its role as an ISP or the university (and its employees) acting as a content provider. If the complaint is deficient, a notice of deficiency shall be returned to the complainant with a courtesy copy forwarded to the alleged infringer. No complaint will be deemed official, requiring take down procedures, unless all elements of a proper complaint are included.
- Official Complaints
The following elements are required for DMCA complaints:
- Must be signed or contain a digital signature by the owner of the copyright or the authorized agent.
- Description of works claimed to be infringed.
- Description of location for alleged infringing works.
- Sufficient information to contact the complainer.
- Statement of good faith belief that the use is not authorized by the owner/agent.
- Statement that the information in the notice is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, the complainer is authorized to act on behalf of the owner.
- University as Content Provider
If a determination is made that the DMCA complaint involves the university as a content provider and not an ISP, then careful consideration will be given to fair use exemptions under the copyright act. Appropriate university officials will be notified to handle the matter in a way similar to the way any claim of copyright infringement is handled.
- Faculty/Graduate Students
The DMCA specifically defines when faculty or graduate students alleged infringement on-line is or is not attributable to the institution as a content provider. Infringing activities shall not be attributed to the institution if:
- Such faculty members’ or graduate students’ infringing activities do not involve the provision of on-line access to instructional materials that are or were required or recommended, within the preceding three-year period, for a course taught at the institution by such faculty member or graduate student;
- The institution has not, within the preceding three-year period, received more than two official DMCA complaints about the alleged infringer; and
- The institution provides to all users of its system or network informational or network informational materials that accurately describe, and promote compliance with, the laws of the U.S. relating to copyright. See university policy, Copyrighted Works Reproduction (A-12).
- Take Down Procedures
If the university is acting as an ISP, take down procedures will be automatically initiated once an official complaint is received. The complaint resolution team will notify the person responsible for the server to specifically locate the alleged infringing materials. The dean or director for the area involved will also be immediately notified of the official complaint. The dean or director shall immediately confer with the alleged infringer and attempt the secure a voluntary take down of the alleged infringing material. Such voluntary take down must be confirmed by the dean or director. If these procedures cannot be completed within a reasonably quick time or voluntary take down cannot be secured, then the dean or director shall immediately coordinate with the person responsible for the server to take down the alleged infringing materials. The general counsel should be notified when the alleged infringing materials have been removed.
If the alleged infringer believes the official complaint is in error or that the complainant is not the official copyright holder or agent, he or she can submit a counter-notice containing the following elements:
- Must contain a physical or electronic signature of the alleged infringer;
- Identification of the removed material and the location at which it appeared;
- A statement under penalty of perjury that the alleged infringer has a good faith belief that the material was removed because of mistake or misidentification; and
- The alleged infringer’s name, address, telephone number, consent to the jurisdiction of the federal court in which their address is located, and that they will accept service of process from the official complainant.
Upon receipt of the counter-notice, the university shall immediately forward it to the official complainant with an explanation that the university shall restore access to the materials at issue within 10-14 days, unless notice is received that court action is pending.
- Repeat Infringers
The university may terminate Internet service to repeat infringers who receive more than two complaints in a three-year period. Repeat infringement shall constitute misuse of university computers and network systems under university policy, Computer and Network Security (D-8.1). Sanctions procedures under that policy will be followed.
Cross Reference: Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Pub. L. No. 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860 (1998); Copyrighted Works Reproduction (A-12); Computer and Network Security (D-8.1)
Responsible for Implementation: General Counsel
Contact for Revision: General Counsel
Board Committee Assignment: Academic and Student Affairs