Legal Actions-Computing Services ISO - Carnegie Mellon University

Other Legal Actions

Carnegie Mellon could receive a number of notices related to the copyright infringement or be served with subpoenas from an agency representing the copyright holder.  Other than DMCA Takedown notices, the following are the most common copyright infringement notices sent from organizations representing copyright holders:

These notices do not have to be sent in any particular order, and are not all required.   For example, a representing agency could choose to send an Early Settlement Letter as the first notice to be communicated to the alleged infringer, which could then be followed by a subpoena. A Takedown notice could also be sent separately.  

Preservation Request

A preservation request is initiated by organizations representing copyright holders.  These requests are usually sent to the ISP, such as Carnegie Mellon, demanding that the alleged infringer's contact information be preserved in response to a future subpoena. The notice will typically request that the alleged infringer preserve any evidence that might reside on the computer identified in the preservation request. The preservation request, similar to the Takedown notice, contains the IP address that was reported in the violation and the timestamp, including time, date, and time zone.   The ISO uses this information to determine what individual is responsible for the system.

Early Settlement Letter

The agency representing the copyright holder may give the alleged infringer an opportunity to settle the matter outside of a courtroom.  The representing agency sends ISPs, such as Carnegie Mellon, an "Early Settlement Letter" with a request that it be forwarded to the user associated with the IP address involved in the alleged copyright infringement. The letter informs the alleged infringer of a possible lawsuit, and presents them with the opportunity to settle the claim in order to avoid having to resolve the claim in court.  This letter may include a link to a settlement website where a reduced amount, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, can be paid with a credit card.  In addition, the letter may inform the alleged infringer that they are prohibited from deleting information or programs related to the copyright infringement, as they are considered evidence and must be preserved.  In the interest of providing students with notice of potential legal claims and an opportunity to settle such claims, it is the practice of Carnegie Mellon to forward Early Settlement Letters to the alleged infringer.  The University does not disclose names, contact information or any other personally identifiable information to the copyright holder in response to Early Settlement Letters. 

A student may choose to respond to the Early Settlement Letter or they may seek the advice of an attorney. The Student Life Office at Carnegie Mellon can provide recommendations on whom to contact for advice.  


Subpoenas received by the University from copyright holders or their representatives generally request the identity of the user of a particular IP address which allegedly used the University's network to unlawfully distribute copyrighted material.  A subpoena could be served without sending a DMCA notice, or a preservation request, to the alleged infringer.  Subpoenas generally allow for a reasonable period of time within which the recipient is required to respond.  Carnegie Mellon will inform the alleged infringer of any receipt of a subpoena for copyright violations prior to providing any information to the party that served the subpoena.  In order to afford the alleged infringer(s) the opportunity to challenge the subpoena through the court system, the University will withhold its response until the expiration of the reasonable time specified in the subpoena.  Unless the subpoena is successfully challenged, Carnegie Mellon will be compelled to provide the information requested in the subpoena.

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