Institutional Plan for Addressing Illegal File Sharing and Copyright Infringement
Use of Technology-Based Deterrents
The University of Houston-Downtown uses several technologies to combat, identify, prevent and investigate illegal file sharing and copyright infringement. Deterrents include:
- Bandwidth monitoring and limiting. These are used to restrict Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing within the university.
- Active Directory, Virtual Private Network (VPN), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) logs. These are collected for the campus network and are monitored by IT staff.
- Blue Coat Packet Shaper. This software is currently being implemented on the UHD network for traffic shaping and bandwidth monitoring.
- NetScout. This application is used for application and network performance management. It performs software and hardware probing, and is monitored and managed by IT staff.
Procedure for Handling Copyright Infringements Reports and DMCA Notices
The following procedure is in place for handling suspected copyright infringement by UHD students, faculty, or staff:
- Per policy, the copyright owner must officially notify the University of Houston System of the alleged infringement. Notices can be made to UHS UIT at Security@uh.edu, DMCA@uh.edu, or Abuse@uh.edu. If UHD is notified directly, UHD refers the copyright owner to UH System, notifies UHS UIT Security, and coordinates with UHS UIT on a response.
- Once the notice is received:
- UHS UIT Security logs the notice into several systems to assist in processing the notice and correlating data and notifies UHD if the complaint is related to a copyright infringement by a UHD student, faculty or staff member from a UHD technical environment.
- UHD documents the notification in a support call tracking system and works with UHS IT on a response.
- UHD, in coordination with UHS UIT Security, locates the alleged violator.
- Once identified, the violator is notified via email of the notice and asked to "cease and desist" and remove the material listed in the notice.
- If the alleged violator does not comply and further complaints are received, the matter is escalated to the UHD Assistant Vice President for Student Services and/or the Office of Human Resources. UHD Security also notifies UHS UIT Security of the action taken.
- If the complaint is requesting information about an alleged violator, that request will be forwarded to UHS General Counsel for review and authorization.
- UHD IT Security reports the incident as part of its monthly IT security report to the Texas Department of Information Resources.
Procedure for Effectiveness Review of the Process
The Copyright Infringement Reports and DMCA Notice process is reviewed monthly by UHS UIT Security. UHD formally reviews the process annually as part of its IT Security Risk Assessment.
Education and Awareness
To meet the annual disclosure requirement of HEOA, information regarding the University of Houston System Copyright Policy is emailed to students each semester. Additionally, students are presented with and required to agree to the terms and conditions in the Student Technology Use Agreement when initially receiving or renewing/resetting their UHD password.
In compliance with State of Texas regulations, University of Houston-Downtown's website maintains information about Reporting Copyright Infringement and Copyright Compliance. This is information is accessible by a link in the footer on every UHD website page and from the UHD Site Policies, Standards and Guidelines page. UHD also maintains an informational webpage in support of user awareness and UHD compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The website includes a link that offers legal alternatives to illegally downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted material.
The University of Houston System also has an awareness program for faculty and staff called Secure Our Systems. This program is designed to inform and educate University of Houston faculty and staff of federal, state, and university regulations and policies regarding computer security. The topics of illegal file sharing and copyright infringement are included in this online training course, which employees are mandated to complete annually. This training course is also required as part of Human Resources New Employee Orientation.