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Policy on Copyrighted Materials and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing


National Hispanic University (NHU) respects intellectual property rights, including rights in the copyrighted materials of the institution, its students, faculty, and third parties. NHU has implemented a comprehensive policy to help protect those rights and to comply with United States Copyright Law and the U.S. Higher Education Act’s peer-to-peer file sharing provisions. Strict compliance with NHU’s policies is required of all NHU students and employees. NHU’s policies are reviewed annually to determine their effectiveness.


Copyright Law

Under U.S. Copyright Law (www.copyright.gov/title17), the author of a creative work automatically owns the copyright in that work upon its creation. No formal registration is required; ownership is immediate. The author can transfer ownership of a copyright to another so the copyright owner may not be the original author of the work. Creative works include songs, stories, poems, paintings, photographs, or other works that contain a creative element. Ownership of the copyright gives the owner exclusive rights in that work such as the right to display, reproduce, transmit, create derivative works from, publicly perform, distribute, and license the creative work. This means that, absent permission from the creator, you may not take the creative work owned by another and exercise these rights. Such a violation is called “infringement” of the owner’s copyright. For example, if you legally purchase a music CD, you may not create copies of the music on that CD and distribute those copies to others over the Internet. Helping others to violate the owner’s copyright by making it easy for them to distribute such materials may also be illegal.


Actions and Penalties for Copyright Infringement

Under U.S. Copyright Law, a copyright owner who has been the victim of copyright infringement is entitled to recover actual damages and profits from the infringer or statutory damages of up to $30,000 per violation. The copyright owner has the right to permanently enjoin the infringer from further infringing activities. NHU, recognizing and respecting intellectual property rights, requires its employees, instructors, students, and other community members to use copyrighted materials in a lawful manner. Copyright infringement can result in applicants being rejected for admission and enrolled students and employees being dismissed.

Additionally, NHU maintains a vigorous program of accepting and responding to Digital Millennium Copyright ACT (DMCA) notices, which are immediately escalated to NHU’s legal team for investigation and action. If the materials in question are determined by the legal department to be infringing, the Information Technology department is notified and action is taken that can include either the removal of the infringing materials from NHU’s network or the blocking of the infringer’s network access. The infringer is notified. Repeated violations can result in dismissal.


Legal Sources of Content

Students and employees are reminded that many legal sources of content are available at www.educause.edu/legalcontent.