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UHD Compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

UHD has taken an aggressive approach to curb illegal file sharing among students, faculty and staff, as copyright violations are not only a legal matter, but also an academic/social issue for UHD - an institution that values the intellectual property of individuals and organizations alike. In addition, illegal file sharing impacts the technology infrastructure of the university from both a performance as well as a security perspective. Please be aware that downloading, copying and sharing material, such as music, movies, games, and applications, for which the copyright holder has not given you rights to share is against the law and both UHD and UHS policies. Alleged violations are coordinated initially by the UHS and UHD IT Security Offices and may be subsequently forwarded to the UHD Assistant Vice President for Student Services and/or the Office of Human Resources. 

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, also referred to as H.R. 4137, was signed into law on August 14, 2008. The HEOA primarily addresses obstacles that make it difficult for qualified students to obtain a college education, but it also includes specific statements requiring colleges and universities to comply with digital copyright laws.

It is the practice at the University of Houston-Downtown to fully respect all rights that exist in any material protected by the copyright laws of the United States while also encouraging usage of the material that furthers the educational mission of the university. In addition the university has been engaged and actively addressing the issues of illegal file sharing and copyright infringement as required as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) enacted by Congress in 1998.

References are provided below to current policies and procedures which outline your responsibility, along with a summary of civil and criminal penalties applicable to violations of federal copyright laws.  Appropriate action will be taken in any alleged case of infraction on copyrighted material available on UHD's computing network.

Our Approach

Adhering to best practices, the university has enacted the four strategies below to address illegal file sharing.

  • Implemented technology solutions to block illegal file sharing
  • Created of awareness through education
  • Began investigating and disciplining copyright violators
  • Provided legal alternatives

Current Policies and References

Current Developments

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 introduces new requirements to address the issue of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

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

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 website of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this statement, the practices of UHD, or your use of this website, please contact us via email at or via postal mail at:

Attention: IT Security Officer
Information Technology
University of Houston-Downtown
One Main Street, S700
Houston, TX 77002