Illegal File Sharing Response Procedures (#4052)
These procedures define the process and responsibilities associated with
- Computer and Network Resources Use Policy (KB#3409)
- Higher Education Opportunity Act
- VCU Rules and Procedures
- VCU Housing Contract
- Computer Use Enforcement Procedures (accessible through KB#2457) provides for the identification of departmental contacts and adjudication procedures
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Agent (KB# 3996) identifies the official VCU contact for lodging formal complaints regarding illegal file sharing
- File Sharing (KB#3994) provides background information about file sharing and provides information about legal alternatives
- Copyright & File Sharing (KB#3992) provides pertinent educational information
Illegal File Sharing Complaint Response
Formal DMCA notices and other complaints regarding illegal file sharing activities shall be e-mailed by the complainant to VCU’s DMCA Agent. The DMCA Agent shall enter the complaint into the Remedy Ticket System. Based on the IP address provided by the notice, the case will be assigned to Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services staff (for residential hall addresses) or VCU Technology Services staff (for all others).
Residence Hall Addresses
Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services staff will attempt to identify the IP address owner by reviewing the log files of the Clean Access/CNAC appliances dedicated to residential hall use. The staff will confirm if the individual is a current resident. If the staff are unable to identify the individual, or if that individual is no longer a resident, the DMCA case ticket will be updated and the case will be closed.
If the individual is a current resident, login access through Clean Access/CNAC will be disabled and the student called in for a consultation with the staff. Resolution will depend upon the number of previous offenses:
- First Offense: Consultation with student, verification of removal of offending material, written documentation to avoid illegal file sharing, and re-enabled access after a one-week sanction.
- Second Offense: Consultation with student and verification of removal of offending material. Access disabled for the remainder of the semester.
- Third Offense: Consultation with student, disabled access and forwarding to Judicial Affairs and Academic Integrity for further action.
After resolution, the DMCA case ticket will be updated and the case will be closed.
All Other Addresses
VCU Technology Services will attempt to identify the IP address owner by reviewing the log files of CiscoWorks and other network equipment to the extent practical. If they are unable to identify an individual host the DMCA case ticket will be updated and the case closed.
If the staff are able to identify an individual host, the MAC address and switch port information will be documented in the DMCA case ticket. The associated switch port will be disabled. However, if the suspect host is a shared server or other device that would impact adversely the University’s mission, the network engineer may leave the port enabled. The reason for leaving the port enabled will be documented in the DMCA case ticket and the appropriate IT support staff will be contacted to resolve the ticket. If the switch port is disabled, an entry shall be made in the switch configuration indicating the ticket number and reason for the disconnection.
When the owner of the disconnected computer contacts VCU Technology Services, the owner will be directed to work with his/her departmental desktop support staff to have the offending material removed from the computer. The departmental desktop support staff member must certify by e-mail that the problem has been resolved. Once the case has been resolved, the switch port may be enabled, the configuration notice removed, and the DMCA case ticket updated and closed.
Uncooperative employees and repeat offenders will be reported using the Computer Use Enforcement Procedures.
Technology-based Deterrents and Education
VCU Network Services maintains a traffic-shaping appliance at the Internet edge. The appliance will be utilized to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the VCU network. Network traffic will be monitored to determine what peer-to-peer protocols are in use and stricter limits shall be maintained on those protocols. Unidentified protocols will also be limited strictly to control unusual protocols and attempts to hide the nature of transmissions.
Protocol utilization will be monitored at least once per semester. Overall effectiveness of the limits will be reviewed annually.
Students will be notified annually of VCU IT policies and procedures.
Review Cycle: Annual
Last Update: August 10, 2010
This article was updated: 08/16/2010