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Digital Copyright and DMCA

Carnegie Mellon University takes copyright violation seriously. Besides raising awareness about copyright law, it takes appropriate action in support of enforcement as required by policy and law.  United States copyright law "protects the original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device".

The University's Fair Use Policy states that all members of the University must comply with US copyright law and it explains the fair use standards for using and duplicating copyrighted material.   In addition, the policy prohibits the duplication of software for multiple uses, meeting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requirements.  The DMCA criminalizes the development or use of software that enables users to access material that is copyright protected. Furthermore, the Computing Policy prohibits the distribution of copyright protected material via the University network or computer systems, unless the copyright owner grants permission.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-315) Section 488, requires institutions of higher education to annually inform students that "unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities".  The law goes on to require institutions "to provide a summary of penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution's information system."

DMCA Takedown Notice

A DMCA Takedown notice is a letter or email that the University receives from the copyright holder or a representative of the copyright holder, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, requesting that the University remove, disable access to, or disable distribution of material allegedly involved in copyright infringement.  The notice will include the IP address of the machine allegedly involved in the infringement, a description of the allegedly infringing material, and a timestamp with the time, time zone, and date.  Once the notice is received, Carnegie Mellon is obligated to ensure that the infringing material does not remain accessible from the system listed in the takedown notice.

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