U-M Plan for Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Compliance

Overview of DMCA/HEOA requirements

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) was designed to combat the web-centered file sharing of digital copyrighted materials, at the time mainly MP3 recordings. The initial requirements for institutional compliance included:

  • Designation of an official DMCA agent.
  • Registration of a mailbox (dmca.notices@umich.edu) for receiving complaints from copyright holders. U-M will only process complaints from copyright holders that are sent to the email address registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Development and implementation of a notification process for users alleged to have infringed copyright law.

In 2008 Congress passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) that included additional requirements designed to deter file sharing of copyrighted digital media (music, movies, games, etc.) via the peer-to-peer (P2P) protocols that did not exist at the time of the passage of the DMCA. The specific HEOA requirements include:

  • Annual Disclosure to inform students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials is illegal.
  • Documentation of a compliance plan that includes a "technology-based deterrent."
  • Periodic review of the effectiveness of the plan.
  • Alternatives to illegal file-sharing.

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U-M Digital Copyright Compliance Program Components

I. Annual Disclosure/Education & Awareness

During the fall semester, the university sends disclosure notices to all students, faculty, and staff. These notices serve to: remind the university population of their compliance obligations with university-wide Information Technology Proper Use guidelines and the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities; educate and raise awareness regarding the potential illegality of the distribution of copyrighted materials; and underscore the university's commitment to enforce all copyright laws, including the DMCA, and the DMCA-related provisions of the HEOA.

Information Assurance (IA) develops and maintains the text of the annual disclosure. The disclosure is vetted and approved by the Offices of the General Counsel, the Vice President for Student Life, and the Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO and Vice President for Student Life disseminate the disclosure.

ITS-IA engages in campus-wide education and awareness activities highlighting the consequences of illegally accessing or distributing unauthorized copyrighted material, as well as provides resources for the legal file sharing of copyrighted materials. This education and awareness is accomplished through this DMCA/HEOA copyright compliance website.

II. Strategy for Effectively Combating the Distribution of Unauthorized Copyrighted Materials

IA staff operate a vigorous digital copyright compliance response program for complaints sent to dmca.notices@umich.edu. This program includes escalation procedures for repeat offenses, including referral to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, and potential restrictions of computing accounts.

III. Provide alternative sources for authorized copies of copyrighted materials

ITS maintains a copyright compliance web page that provides access to alternative sources of authorized copyrighted digital materials; notifications of copyright infringement will include a link to this website and to additional resources, such as the EDUCAUSE "Legal Alternatives" website.

IV. Strategic Plan review

IA regularly compiles and reviews metrics regarding number of complaints received, complainant statistics, complaints per network location (Mwireless, Residence Hall Ethernet, et al.), and tracking or alleged repeat offenders. Metrics and analysis will be reviewed by the official University DMCA agent, and other university staff as appropriate.