The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) contains provisions meant to curb file sharing in violation of copyright law. Sharing copyrighted materials through peer-to-peer file sharing, or by other means, is a violation of Pratt computing policy as well as federal law. The Pratt Computers and Network Acceptable Use policy can be found at my.pratt.edu under the Policy tab or at www.pratt.edu/uploads/CompNet_Policy_-_2010.pdf.

Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of a right belonging to the copyright holder including the right to reproduce or distribute the copyrighted work. Using P2P software to download or upload a copyrighted work, such as a movie or music, is a violation of the owner's copyright.

Penalties for copyright infringement range from $200 to $150,000 per infringed work in addition to attorney's fees and court costs. 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

Technology-Based Deterrents to Illegal P2P Traffic

As required by Higher Education Opportunity Act regulations issued in October, 2009, Pratt has implemented the following technology-based deterrents to illegal file sharing on its network.
Traffic Shaping – Through the use of a traffic shaping device Pratt limits person-to-person (P2P) network traffic in the following ways:

  • Incoming P2P traffic of all types is limited to from 1–10% of Pratt’s total bandwidth and has a reduced priory setting so that other types of traffic such as web use and telephony have a higher priority.
  • Outgoing P2P traffic of all types is limited to 5% of Pratt’s total bandwidth, also at a reduced priority setting.
  • Network Monitoring – Network Access Control (NAC) equipment has been deployed in the Pratt network which will ultimately require all network devices to be logged in by the end-user using their OneKey credentials.
  • All network sessions, on both wired and wireless segments, will be attributable to individual logins.

Using the NAC login information, Pratt end-users producing P2P activity will be contacted to explain their legal jeopardy and Institute policy and federal law. They will be offered legal alternatives to obtaining digital content.

Legal Alternatives and More Information

A list of legal alternatives to copyright infringement can be found at the EDUCAUSE website, www.educause.edu/legalcontent.

Periodic Review 

All policies regulating P2P activity will be reviewed annually by Pratt IT to ensure their continued effectiveness in addressing copyright violations. This review will use a number of measurments to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs, including:

  • The number of copyright-related tickets generated by the Service Desk.
  • The number of DCMA takedown notices received.
  • The number of hosts and traffic volume related to P2P activity as measured by Pratt's traffic-shaping technology.
  • The number of users warned or sanctioned as a result of P2P activity.