Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) & Digital Copyright Safeguards


What does Higher Education Opportunity Act have to do with Digital Copyright Safeguards at BGSU?


In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), the information available via the BGSU Digital Copyright Safeguard knowledge base pages is provided in order to:

  • explicitly inform students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities;
    • ITS Information Security Office and the Division of Student Affairs annually send a message to BGSU students providing information regarding the proper use of digital copyrighted resources.  A copy of the message sent is available for your reference.
  • provide a summary of the penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws; and
    • 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 site of the U.S. Copyright Office, especially their FAQ's

  • describe the institution’s policies with respect to unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution’s information technology system.
    • Information on both the Digital Copyright Safeguards and the process for DMCA notices are outlined above.

Further information regarding HEOA may also be referenced on the Educause web site

For additional assistance, please contact Information Technology Services at 419-372-0999 or through chat.


Article ID: 39130
Fri 9/15/17 2:41 PM
Mon 5/15/23 12:32 PM