File Sharing


H.R 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. It includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. These provisions include requirements that:
  • Institutions make an annual disclosure informing students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and details the steps institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • Institutions certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed written plans to “effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
  • Institutions, “to the extent practicable,” offer alternatives to illegal file sharing.
  • Institutions identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

Annual Disclosure

Consistent with our educational principles, we view education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials at SNHU. We use a wide variety of methods to inform our community about the law and SNHU’s response to copyright infringement claims:
  1. In order to use University computing resources, all members of the SNHU community endorse a Network Acceptable Use Policy that includes a section on copyright compliance and a File Sharing Policy that specifically addresses the University’s position on copyright laws and file sharing.
  2. Posters are periodically mounted in student computer labs and elsewhere to discourage illegal file sharing.
  3. Every fall we send an email to all students regarding illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
  4. SNHU’s Computing Resources staff periodically brief members of the Student Senate about copyright, illegal file sharing, and related issues.
  5. SNHU’s policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and our response to infringement claims are published on the University web site.
  6. Each year, the Office of Student Affairs sends out a memo to all students on copyright laws and campus policies related to violating copyright laws.

Plans to "Effectively Combat" the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

Southern New Hampshire University employs multiple technology-based deterrents to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials. SNHU’s Packeteer enables bandwidth-shaping technology to both block network access to known sites/services employed in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials as well as restricting the available bandwidth to P2P applications. SNHU also utilizes an Intrusion Detection & Prevention (IDP) system to block a defined list of P2P file sharing services. SNHU responds promptly to legitimate notices or letters of illegal copyright infringement based on the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and sent to our DMCA agent address.

Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

There are many legal sources for copyrighted material such as music and movies. They have a wide range of business models; some are free and some charge a nominal fee. The Motion Picture Association of America maintains an up-to-date and comprehensive list of legal sources. In addition, Educause maintains a comprehensive list of Legal Downloading Resources. Members of the SNHU community are encouraged to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content.

Reviewing Effectiveness

Beginning in 2011-2012 and periodically thereafter, SNHU will survey community members to assess the extent to which our anti-piracy messages are reaching them. We will analyze the impact of our technical efforts to combat illegal file sharing, and other aspects of our plan to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

Updated: 3 December 2013