campus wide alert

Combatting Illegal Sharing

Catawba's Plan to Combat Illegal Sharing of Copyrighted Materials


Catawba's plan to combat illegal sharing of copyrighted materials is in compliance with the final version of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) issued on October 29, 2009. The College's plan includes the following four components:

  1. Educate the campus community about copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law. 
  2. Effectively combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials on the campus network by using proactive technology-based deterrents and by responding quickly and thoroughly to address all reported copyright violations.
  3. Offer the campus community legal sources for copyrighted materials to clearly demonstrate that there are alternatives to illegal downloading and sharing of copyrighted materials.
  4. Periodically review the effectiveness of our efforts using relevant assessment criteria and adjust the  plan as needed.

Educate the Campus Community about Copyright Law and Campus Policies Related to Violating Copyright Law
Catawba College views education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. We use a wide variety of mechanisms to inform our community about copyright law and Catawba's response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use College computing resources, all members of the community agree to comply with Catawba College's Acceptable Usage Policy for Computing and Network Resources which includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • New students are educated about copyright law, illegal file sharing, and the dangers of peer-to-peer file sharing software during the technology training session conducted by the Information Technology department and the college life training conducted by Student Affairs during new student orientation.
  • Each fall, an email is sent to the campus community under the joint signatures of the Dean of Students and the CIO regarding the serious negative consequences associated with illegally obtaining or sharing copyrighted materials.
  • We publish information in the Student, Faculty, and Staff Handbooks about the importance of complying with copyright laws and provide website links to campus policies that deal with copyright compliance and responding to detected or reported copyright infringement.
  • Information about copyright law, the dangers of illegal file sharing and peer-to-peer file sharing software are published on the College website, along with campus policies and procedures related to copyright law compliance.
  • Information Technology and Student Affairs staff are trained on copyright issues, policies, and procedures and regularly communicate with campus community members about these issues on an individual basis as a need or opportunity appears.  


Effectively Combat Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Materials on the Campus Network
Catawba College employs two methods to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials on the campus network

  • The College uses proactive technology-based deterrents.

Catawba employs a combination of packet-shaping and firewall rules to block transmissions employing networks or protocols typically used for illegal file sharing. Additionally, an intrusion detection system is in place that alerts the College's networking staff about any peer-to-peer traffic traversing the campus network.  

  • The College responds quickly and throughly to all detected or reported copyright violations.  

In the event that potential copyright infringement activity is detected (via the technology-based deterrents outlined above) or reported (via a Digitial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice or other reliable report), the offender's computer account is placed in quarantine. This prevents the offending campus community member from accessing the campus network, campus software applications, and campus computer labs. The community member is notified that their account will remain in quarantine until the Information Technology department has ensured that any infringed materials and peer-to-peer file sharing software are removed from their computer system(s). Additionally, student offenders are reported to the Dean of Students and subject to student judicial proceedings as outlined in the Student Handbook. Faculty offenders are reported to the Provost and subject to disciplinary measures as outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Staff offenders are reported to the Human Resources Director and subject to disciplinary measures as outlined in the Staff Handbook.


Offer the Campus Community Legal Sources for Copyrighted Materials
In order to demonstrate to the campus community that there are many legal options available, Catawba College maintains a web page that links campus community members to many resources for finding legal alternatives for online music, movies, and more.


Periodically Review the Effectiveness of Our Efforts
To assess the effectiveness of our efforts to combat illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, the College   annually reviews its plan using the following assessment criteria:

  • Is the number of reported and detected infingements decreasing, either as an absolute number or as a percentage of the campus population?
  • Is the number of repeat offenders decreasing, either as an absolute number or as a percentage of the campus population?

The results of this annual review, as well as any modifications to the campus plan based on this review, will be published here.

    1. Academic Year 2012-2013:  There were no reports of copyright infringement.
    2. Academic Year 2011-2012:  There were no reports of copyright infringement.
    3. Academic Year 2010-2011: In August 2010, Catawba College published its plan to combat illegal file sharing in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act. There were no reports of copyright infringement.
    4. Academic Year 2009-2010: Catawba College responded to three reports of copyright infringement. There were no repeat offenders.