Copyright Infringement Policy

1.0 Purpose
2.0 Scope
3.0 Policy
3.1 Examples of Activities Violating Federal Law
4.0 Procedures
5.0 Copyright Infringement FAQ
6.0 Related Policies and Links

1.0 Purpose

This document describes the policy and procedures Brown University follows in responding to notifications of alleged copyright infringements on the University network.

2.0 Scope

This policy applies to those who use Brown’s network to share files, including (but are not limited to) Brown faculty and visiting faculty, staff, students, guests or agents of the administration, external individuals and organizations accessing network services via Brown's computing facilities.

3.0 Policy

Upon formal notification or due to detection, Brown University’s Computing and Information Services will take all necessary means, including but not limited to temporary disconnection from internet access, to stop illegal sharing of copyrighted material on its network by identified users.

This is in accord with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which provides non-profit educational institutions with some protections if individual members of the community violate the law. For Brown University to maintain this protection, it must expeditiously take down or otherwise block access to infringing material whenever it is brought to our attention.

3.1 Example of Activities Violating Federal Law

Following are some examples of copyright infringement that may be found in a university setting:

  • Downloading and sharing MP3 files of music, videos, and games without permission of the copyright owner
  • Using corporate logos without permission
  • Placing an electronic copy of a standardized test on a department's web site without permission of the copyright owner
  • Enhancing a departmental web site with music that is downloaded or artwork that is scanned from a book, all without attribution or permission of the copyright owners
  • Scanning a photograph that has been published and using it without permission or attribution
  • Placing a number of full-text articles on a course web page that is not password protected and allowing the web page to be accessible to anyone who can access the Internet
  • Downloading licensed software from non-authorized sites without the permission of the copyright or license holder
  • Making a movie file or a large segment of a movie available on a web site without permission of the copyright owner

4.0 Procedures

Notices are sent to Computing and Information Services (CIS) from organizations that represent the artists and copyright holders. When Brown receives such a notice, CIS staff look up the network IP address to identify the individual or responsible administrator. If it is possible to determine the responsible party, that person is notified that they must remove the infringing material from their computer and inform the CIS IT Service Center once this has been done.

First-time Notifications: If this is the first notification that the University has received on an individual and the infringing material has not been removed from the computer within five days action, a report about the copyright violation will be sent by CIS to the appropriate offices and/or individuals: for students, the Office of Student Conduct; for staff, their senior administrator and Human Resources, or to BioMed’s Human Resources as applicable; and for faculty or postdoctoral fellows, to the department chair and the Dean of Faculty or Dean of Medicine & Biological Sciences.

In addition, a staff member found violating this policy who did not remove the content in the allotted time must complete a form acknowledging that they have read and will abide by this policy.

Subsequent Notification Process for Students: If students are identified as having committed a second copyright infringement, the Office of Student Conduct will be notified and may take additional action appropriate to the University's disciplinary process. If students are notified of copyright infringement a third time, additional sanctions may be applied.

Subsequent Notification Process for Faculty, Graduate Students and Staff: Faculty, graduate students, and staff who are engaged in teaching and research functions are expected to understand and act in accordance with applicable copyright laws. The University is obligated to exercise greater responsibility to address instances of repeated infringing activity by these individuals.

Action Taken in Response to Subpoenas: Upon receipt of a valid subpoena, Brown University is obligated to turn over any electronic information regarding specific instances of infringing material that has been allegedly transmitted over its networks, in accordance with the standard procedures of the Office of the General Counsel.

5.0 Copyright Infringement FAQ

See the IT Knowledgebase article Copyright Infringement FAQ.

6.0 Related Policies and Links

» Brown's Copyright & Fair Use Policy | Using Copyrighted Works (resources for making legal and ethical use of copyrighted scholarly work)
» Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DCMA) (see Title II, § 512)
» Copyright Law of the United States (Copyright Office Title 17)
» Acknowledgement of Copyright Infringement (Google form)
» Understanding Copyright: A Deeper Dive ( course)
» Copyright on Campus (video)
» DCMA: U.S. Copyright Office Summary
» Copyright Office: Agent Designation for Service Providers
» Brown's Higher Education Opportunity Act Compliance Statement
» Acceptable Use
» Tips on File Sharing with Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Applications (Brown)
» Legal Sources of Online Content

Questions or comments to:

Final Version: July 2, 2003
Updated to clarify second and subsequent violations for students: April 2, 2004
Updated to include subpoena notification section: August 11, 2005
Last Reviewed and Revised: February, 2017