Information Security

HEOA Compliance

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. It was passed in 2008 and includes provisions that require universities and colleges to demonstrate efforts to educate their customers in regards to copyright issues and P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing.

The UW-River Falls Division of Technology Services (DoTS) implements the following in regards to electronic copyright issues and P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing.

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, is a violation of the DoTS Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), which states, in part:

You are expected to use University computer resources in an ethical manner...

Examples of actions that violate one or more of the various policies or guidelines...

violating copyright laws on published works, music, graphics or software; e.g. obtaining, or making available to others, commercial software via the Internet in violation of the licensing agreements on such software;

The complete AUP is displayed when someone activates their Falcon Account.  You must agree to the AUP before continuing to activate your Falcon Account. The AUP can be reviewed at anytime in the policies section of the DoTS web site.  

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws1

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at


DoTS will accept and act upon all reports of suspected copyright violation sent to our attention at the e-mail address

We will track, to the best of our abilities given any technical limitations that might exist, to identify the person(s) responsible for the reported suspected copyright violations.

Once identified, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken as provided under existing procedures applicable to students (Student Affairs Department of Residence Life/Student Rights & Responsibilities) and employees (Human Resources). Sanctions will vary but can include such things written notification to cease, personal meeting, additional required education, and, complete loss of network privileges. Civil or criminal prosecution may also occur.


DoTS will track the incidents reported to us and use this to measure if we are making progress in educating our students and staff.  Reported incidents per year will be compared.  Yearly, in July, we will evaluate our efforts from the past academic year and determine our plan for the upcoming year.

1Taken from text provided by the Department of Education in a letter dated June 4, 2010 and available on-line at