Policies and Guidelines

Illegal File Sharing and Copyright Infringement

The University of Houston has been engaged with and has been actively addressing the issues of illegal file sharing and copyright infringement since 1998, when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted by Congress. UH has taken an aggressive approach to illegal file sharing, as copyright violations are not only a legal matter but also an academic/social issue to the University, an institution that values the intellectual property of individuals and organizations. In addition, illegal file sharing impacts the technology infrastructure of the University from a performance as well as a security perspective.

A Multi-Faceted Approach

Recognizing the need and adopting best practices, the University in 2001 enacted the four strategies below to address illegal file sharing.

  1. Implemented technology solutions to block illegal file sharing
  2. Created awareness through education
  3. Began investigating and disciplining copyright violators
  4. Provided legal alternatives

Effectiveness

Over the past decade, the program has been successful as measured by the number of verified copyright infringement reports we have received. In addition, UH - unlike other universities - has not been sued by the industry groups that monitor illegal file sharing activity. As the sophistication of illegal file sharing software has increased we have seen increases in attempts to share files and reported violations of copyrights. We are currently upgrading our detection and blocking tools to address the new generation of illegal file sharing.

Current Developments

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 introduces new requirements to address the issue of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

The strategies implemented by the University of Houston over the past decade make us in full compliance with the Act.

UH information about Copyrights and Copyright Infringement Laws is published in the UH Student Handbook. In accordance with the HEOA, a paper copy of the information will be provided upon request.