The Higher Education Opportunity Act
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008. Final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009. Enforcement of the HEOA provisions formally began July 1, 2010, and all colleges and universities are required to make a good-faith effort at compliance.
The Act includes several provisions concerning unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials including music, movies, books and others commonly referred to as "file sharing". Specifically, the provisions require Sul Ross State University to:
- Provide an annual disclosure to students informing them of federal copyright laws and explaining institutional policies and sanctions related to violations of copyright law
- A plan to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the Sul Ross network
- A plan to "offer alternatives to illegal downloading"
Annual Disclosure Plan
At least 10 days after classes begin each semester, SRSU's Office of Information Technology will send an email to each enrolled student with details of the copyright provisions of HEOA and a link to the Educause alternative downloading list.
Plan to Effectively Combat Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
Sul Ross State University has used what is commonly called a “traffic shaping” device to limit bandwidth for file sharing protocols. Soon, a “next generation” firewall that identifies and targets illegal file sharing will be added to the SRSU and RGC backbone networks.
http://www.educause.edu/legalcontent "A comprehensive list of alternatives to illegal downloading" which will be included in the email document.
SAMPLE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT:
Welcome Back Students
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) welcomes you to the Fall 2010 semester. OIT reminds you of the following safety tips, which will help keep you safe online, and protect your data and computers:
• Change your SRSU password often. OIT recommends changing your password every 90 days. A strong password consists of letters, numbers and symbols.
• Never respond to an email request for your login, password, personal or financial information, even if the email appears to be coming from an official source. OIT will never ask you to send such information in an email. Emails threatening to suspend your account unless you send your credentials and personal information are scams called phishing. Don’t fall for it.
• Update your personal machine anti-virus and anti-spyware regularly.
• Think before you click on attachments in email, instant messages, and untrusted Web sites. If you don't know the source, weren't expecting a message, or if a message/Website looks suspicious, do not click and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT PROVIDE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION! Verify the request first with a phone call or an independent email. One bad click can infect your computer, launch attacks on others, and result in network suspension until your machine is disinfected.
• Adhere to Copyright & Intellectual Property Laws. Non-compliance can result in disciplinary action or loss of network connectivity. This includes unauthorized sharing of music, movies, games and other files over a Peer-to-Peer network. For more information, visit:
o SRSU Copyright Policy
o Legal alternatives for downloading available from
o SRSU Higher Education Opportunity Act
Have a great semester!
Office of Information Technology
Sul Ross State University