USAO's Policy on Copyright Infringement

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Copyrighted Materials Policy

To prohibit the downloading, copying, and sharing copyrighted material, such as music, movies, games, and applications, for which the copyright holder has not given you rights, by any computer connected to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) network. This is against the law and USAO’s Acceptable Use Policy for computing resources. The primary purpose of this policy is to educate and set expectations for the university community of their individual and academic responsibilities towards the use of copyrighted material while using the university’s network.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008 and as of July 1, 2010, requires us to take the following steps to deter illegal downloading:
1) An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
2) A plan to “effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyright materials” by users of its network, including “the use of one or more technology-based deterrents”.
3) A plan to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading”.

Copyright Infringement
Downloading or distributing copyrighted material, e.g. documents, music, movies, videos, text, etc., without permission from the rightful owner violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and university policies.

Those who obtain or distribute copyrighted material should be aware that if found liable for copyright infringement, the penalties can be severe, depending upon the amount and the willfulness of the infringing activity.

Additionally, students, faculty and staff who may be in violation of copyright law place not only themselves at risk- they may be exposing USAO to liability as an institution, for contributory or vicarious infringement, e.g., using the university network resources to obtain the material and/or to store the material on university computers and/or servers.

Negative impact to USAO’s network
One of the most common methods of obtaining or distributing copyrighted materials is using peer-to-peer file sharing applications. These P2P applications typically allow a user to set up their computer so that other people can access specific files on their computer. This process, in effect, converts the user's computer into a server. A user's computer acting as a server can place an enormous burden on the network. Network performance can degrade significantly when P2P file-sharing applications are used, especially when large files are being downloaded.

P2P networks can introduce serious gaps in an otherwise secure network. Threats such as worms and viruses can easily be introduced into the network. P2P applications, if modified, can also allow users outside the college to gain access to data on the user’s computer or even the network. Some P2P applications will also allow third parties to see the user’s IP address. The installation of spyware is also common with many P2P applications.

Please note that copyrighted materials cannot be shared by any means without proper permission. This includes sharing via network file shares, the web, or any other means and is not limited to P2P programs.
Users of the USAO network should be extremely cautious in using P2P file sharing programs, examples of such include eDonkey, KaZaA, Gnutella, Morpheus, Audiogalaxy, WinMX and uTorrent.
For the purposes of this policy, a P2P file sharing application is any application that transforms a personal computer into a server that distributes data simultaneously to other computers.

Uninstalling P2P Applications
If you have installed aP2P file sharing application on your computer that connects to the university network and you would like assistance in uninstalling it, you can contact the USAO Tech Support hotline at extension
2017 (from any campus-owned telephone line) or 405-574-1390 x2017 (for off-campus users). You can also send an e-mail message to

Enforcement of Policy
Any user who violates this policy risks having their computer removed from the college’s network. Additionally, if found liable for copyright infringement legal actions may be taken.

Any copyright violations traced to students may be referred to the Office of Student Services for adjudication as a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Any copyright violations traced to faculty or staff may be referred to the university’s Legal Counsel. Copyright violations for faculty and staff are treated as a breach of ethical and professional conduct and will be handled following established disciplinary procedures, including verbal and written warnings, suspension and possible termination.

In addition, violations of copyright law can lead to criminal charges and civil penalties. Under current copyright law, criminal cases of copyright violation carry a penalty of up to five (5) years in prison and a $250,000 fine. While criminal prosecution for illegal downloading is rare, civil law suits are quite common for some institutions, carrying a minimum fine of $750 for each work.

While we do not filter or search for individual computers using P2P applications, we do employ bandwidth-shaping technology to prioritize network traffic. We limit the amount of bandwidth available to P2P applications, but we do not filter such applications since some of the traffic is legal.