HEA Compliance

Pursuant to certain amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), Villanova University must adopt and implement a plan to combat illegal file sharing. The following are the three primary requirements of the file sharing provisions of the HEA and the University's plans for ensuring compliance with them.

  1. Certify the development of a plan to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyright material
    1. Use one or more technology-based deterrent:
    2. To satisfy the requirement of using technology-based deterrent to reduce illegal file sharing, Villanova has chosen to use network access control (NAC) software as well as firewall filtering.  NAC has the capability to identify file sharing software on a student's computer and inform users at that time about federal copyright law and University policy. Our firewalls currently block p2p ports.  To the extent practicable, the University may choose to implement additional filtering measures as technologies improve.

    3. Mechanisms for educating and informing the community about appropriate versus inappropriate use:
      • Publishing the Student Handbook, which outlines the criminal and civil penalties for violation of copyright law.
      • Maintaining a website for the University plan to combat illegal file sharing that includes: a posting of this plan document; an outline of the disciplinary sanctions and criminal and civil penalties for violation of copyright law; educational material describing legal and illegal examples of file sharing; and links to legal sources of music, videos, books and other copyrighted material.
      • Distributing occasional articles on copyright issues via email and web to the University community.
      • Annually providing all students with information about the University's copyright policy via an email communication.
      • Requiring students to acknowledge acceptance of the University's Acceptable Use Policy at initial network login (via NAC) or initial MyNova login.
      • Presenting information on the University's copyright policy during the annual Orientation program for all freshmen, Orientation Counselors and Resident Assistants.
      • Training Tech Zone student workers on copyright law to enable them to assist other students with issues.
    4. Villanova's plan to educate and inform the community about illegal file sharing has several components.

    5. Procedures for handling unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material:

      Villanova's plan to combat illegal file sharing is designed to provide maximum flexibility in dealing with different situations. The University will also utilize a wide range of disciplinary measures to discipline users found in violation of the policies regarding copyrighted material and use of the internet. Violating users will be subject to the full range of criminal and civil penalties. Students found in violation of University policies will be subject to a full range of disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion. Repeat offenders will be referred to the Dean of Students' Office for action. Faculty and staff found in violation of University policies prohibiting unlawful file sharing may be subject to disciplinary action ranging in severity from a warning up to and including termination of employment.  

      The University will also combat the unauthorized distribution of copyright material by continuing to respond to DMCA copyright infringement notices using the procedure detailed at: http://www.villanova.edu/unit/policies/copyright/RIAA_music.htm  

      In order to retain necessary flexibility in the administration of policies, the University reserves the right to interpret, revise, or delete any of the provisions of this plan or any of its policies, as the University deems appropriate in its discretion. 

    6. D. Procedure for periodic review of plan's effectiveness:

      On an annual basis, Villanova will review the effectiveness of its plan in achieving a reduction in illegal file sharing. The review will be performed jointly by University Information Technologies (UNIT) and the Office of the General Counsel. The University will use both process-based and outcome-based criteria in conducting this review. Such process-based criteria may include whether Villanova is following current best practices developed either by similar institutions or copyright holders. Two measures of outcome-based effectiveness will be the number of DMCA notices and the recidivism rate of violators. The University will also continue to examine potential new cost-effective technological deterrents, in addition to possible revisions to the educational portion of the plan.  

  2. Make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject students to criminal and civil penalties and that describes the steps the University will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  3. The University will circulate an annual disclosure notice to current students that apprises them of the criminal and civil penalties, as well as the University disciplinary sanctions, for violations of copyright laws. The University also places its policy prohibiting illegal file sharing in the Student Handbook in the policy section of the University Information Technology (UNIT) website, in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report and on a website dedicated to this topic.  

  4. To the extent practicable, offer alternatives to illegal file sharing:
  5. On Villanova's website dedicated to illegal file sharing, the University will provide links for legal sources of music, movies and other material, which will be supplemented from time to time in the event the University becomes aware of additional sources for lawfully obtaining copyrighted material. Villanova will endeavor to continue to locate and provide to the community additional sources for obtaining copyrighted material in a legal fashion. The University will make available the results of this periodic review of legal alternatives on the same website.