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HEOA Peer-to-Peer Regulations and Compliance

On August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 was signed into law. Proposed regulations for implementing the Act were issued by the Department of Education on August 21, 2009, and final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009. 

Per EDUCAUSE, several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, imposing three general requirements on all U.S. colleges and universities:

  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 copyrighted 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."

Consumer Information 

According to HEOA law:

Illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject a person to civil and criminal penalties.

According to EDUCAUSE, the Department of Education will work with representatives of copyright holders and institutions to develop a summary of the civil and criminal penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws to include as part of the Federal Student Aid Handbook that an institution may use to meet this requirement.

Anne Arundel Community College's policies addressing copyright infringement include:

  • Copyright Policy and
  • Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources.

Annual Disclosure

Consumer information will be maintained on this page as well as on the College portal, MyAACC.  Information will also be included in an email sent annually to all enrolled students regarding "AACC Rules, Policies, Programs and Services." 

All users of College computers are required to read and acknowledge an Acceptable Use statement prior to gaining access to the network. This information identifies the specific College policies for which the user needs to abide by.   

Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

AACC performs traffic monitoring to identify inappropriate use of information technology resources which includes excess bandwidth consumption.

Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

There are many alternatives as to how information can be shared. Please review this list of legitimate download services which EDUCAUSE has put together and will maintain for the benefit of higher education. 

Selected EDUCAUSE Resources