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Acceptable Use Policy

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Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Technology Resource Use Policy

Access to Francis Marion University’s (FMU) computer systems and network is a privilege and not a right.  As such, access to computer systems and a network owned or operated by FMU imposes certain responsibilities and obligations and is granted subject to university policies, and local, state, and federal laws. Acceptable use is always ethical, reflects academic honesty, and shows restraint in the consumption of shared resources. It demonstrates respect for intellectual property, ownership of data, system security mechanisms, and individuals' rights to privacy and to freedom from intimidation and harassment. 

FMU’s Digital Copyright Compliance addresses H.R.4137 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and compliments this policy.


Guidelines

In making acceptable use of FMU resources you are expected to:

  • Use resources only for authorized purposes.
  • Protect your user id and system from unauthorized use. You are responsible for all activities on your user id or that originate from your system.
  • Access only information that is your own, that is publicly available, or to which you have been given authorized access.
  • Use only legal versions of copyrighted software in compliance with vendor license requirements.
  • Use only legally obtained versions of sound recordings and movies downloaded from the network or internet.
  • Be considerate in your use of shared resources. Refrain from monopolizing systems, overloading networks with excessive data, degrading services, or wasting computer time, connect time, disk space, printer paper, manuals, or other resources.

 

In making acceptable use of resources you are expected NOT to:

  • Use another person's system, user id, password, files, or data without permission.
  • Use computer programs to decode passwords or access control information.
  • Attempt to circumvent or subvert system or network security measures.
  • Engage in any activity that might be purposefully harmful to systems or to any information stored thereon, such as creating or propagating viruses, disrupting services, or damaging files or making unauthorized modifications to university data.
  • Use university systems for commercial or partisan political purposes, such as using electronic mail to circulate advertising for products or for political candidates.
  • Make or use illegal copies of copyrighted materials or software, store such copies on university systems, or transmit them over university networks.
  • Use mail or messaging services to harass or intimidate another person, for example, by broadcasting unsolicited messages, by repeatedly sending unwanted mail, or by using someone else's name or user id.
  • Waste computing resources or network resources, for example, by intentionally placing a program in an endless loop, printing excessive amounts of paper, or by sending chain letters or unsolicited mass mailings.
  • Use the university's systems or networks for personal gain; for example, by selling access to your user id or to university systems or networks, or by performing work for profit with university resources in a manner not authorized by the university.
  • Engage in any other activity that does not comply with the General Principles presented above.

 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policies

Copying, distributing, and downloading copyrighted materials, including music, videos, and games, for which you do not have the owner's (copyright holder's) permission is a violation of federal law. Compliance with federal copyright law is expected of all students, faculty, and staff at FMU. If you download and/or distribute unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings and movies, you are breaking the law and may be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages. Federal law provides severe penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or digital transmission of copyrighted materials. The FBI investigates allegations of criminal copyright infringement and violators are prosecuted.

Most peer-to-peer (P2P) software turns file sharing on by default as soon as the software is installed. This means that others may access materials on your computer without your knowledge, whether you have given permission or not. Downloading copyrighted music or movie files without permission is illegal. It is also illegal to share purchased music or movie files with others, again, whether you are aware that you have done it or not.

If you install P2P software, turn the file sharing options off. And, remember, if you are sharing materials inadvertently, you are still liable for violating copyright law.  Watch this video on downloading music legally, produced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to learn how to protect yourself legally.

WARNING: Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Francis Marion University reserves the right to terminate computing services of users who repeatedly infringe upon the rights of copyright owners. If you have questions about whether you may be infringing on another's copyright, please review the online Crash Course on Copyright.

 

Enforcement

The University considers any violation of acceptable use principles or guidelines to be a serious offense and reserves the right to copy and examine any files or information resident on university systems or systems attached to the university network allegedly related to unacceptable use, and to protect its network from systems and events that threaten or degrade operations. Violators are subject to disciplinary action as prescribed in the student handbook. Offenders also may be prosecuted under laws including (but not limited to) the Communications Act of 1934 (amended), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, The Computer Virus Eradication Act of 1989, Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property.

The system administrator will interpret this acceptable use policy, and he/she will attempt to contact users (via electronic mail or in writing) that are behaving inappropriately to discuss and correct their behavior. If a user continues to behave inappropriately, the system administrator may restrict, suspend, or revoke a user's Internet access without further warning or discussion. A user may appeal the system administrator's decision to the University’s Chief Information Officer, who will consult with the Vice President for Student Life or Vice President for Administration as appropriate for a decision. Users who have difficulties with others on the Internet (whether they are on campus or off campus) should report those problems to the system manager.

 

Information Disclaimer

Individuals using computer systems owned by FMU do so subject to applicable laws and University policies. FMU disclaims any responsibility and/or warranties for information and materials residing on non-university systems or available over publicly accessible networks. Such materials do not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or values of FMU, its faculty, staff, or students. These guidelines should not be construed as a limit on any individual's right under the Constitution of the United States.

  

Digital Copyright Compliance

Downloading, copying and sharing material, such as music, movies, games, and applications, for which the copyright holder has not given you rights is both against the law and Francis Marion University’s (FMU) Acceptable Technology Resource Use Policy for computing resources.

Most peer-to-peer (P2P) software turns file sharing on by default as soon as the software is installed. This means that others may access materials on your computer without your knowledge, whether you have given permission or not. Downloading copyrighted music or movie files without permission is illegal. It is also illegal to share purchased music or movie files with others, again, whether you are aware that you have done it or not.

If you install P2P software, turn the file sharing options off. And remember, if you are sharing materials inadvertently, you are still liable for violating copyright law.  Watch this video on downloading music legally, produced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), to learn how to protect yourself legally.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) also referred to as H.R. 4137, was signed into law on August 14, 2008. The HEOA primarily addresses obstacles that make it difficult for qualified students to obtain a college education, but it also includes specific statements requiring colleges and universities to comply with digital copyright laws.

This law requires us to take the following steps to deter illegal downloading:

  • Use of one or more technology-based deterrents
  • An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.
  • A plan to "effectively combat" copyright abuse on the campus network using a "variety of technology-based deterrents"
  • Provide access to and offer alternatives to illegal downloading

 

Technology-based Deterrents

FMU uses its firewall as a technology-based deterrent and monitors total Internet usage on a daily basis.  Certain application-level traffic related to P2P is currently monitored and rate-limited to help deter unlawful file sharing and adherence to the Digital Copyright Compliance Policy.

 

Annual Disclosure

FMU uses the following methods to inform the university community about the law and FMU’s response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use university technology resources, all members of the FMU Community endorse a Use Agreement that includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • New student orientation materials will include information to make them aware of legalities associated with peer-to-peer file sharing.
  • The annual newsletter distributed to FMU students during the early fall will include informational reminders regarding illegal distribution of copyrighted materials. .
  • Computing support staff, which includes student workers, is made aware of legalities associated with peer to peer file sharing during annual training.
  • Language is included in the Student Handbook outlining the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Student residence hall assistants are made aware of illegal peer-to-peer policies during annual orientation.

 

Offer alternatives to illegal file sharing

 

Copyright Violation Notice 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) actively notifies FMU of individuals on the network who are offering and/or receiving copyrighted movies or music recordings for download through peer to peer applications.

FMU takes these reports very seriously and will take steps to address any infringing activity. Failure to take these actions can potentially result in liability for the University itself. In addition to any University-imposed action, any student using his/her network access privileges to engage in the downloading, uploading, or other unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials is potentially at risk of becoming the target of legal action for copyright infringement. Legal actions in prior years have resulted in thousands of dollars in fines levied against our students.  

As outlined in the Students’ Rights and Responsibilities in the Student Handbook, there is a judicial process for students violating University policies. These steps can include loss of network access through the residence halls and wireless network among other disciplinary actions deemed appropriate by Student Affairs. Please read your student handbook for more information.

WARNING: Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Francis Marion University reserves the right to terminate computing services of users who repeatedly infringe upon the rights of copyright owners. If you have questions about whether you may be infringing on another's copyright, please review the online Crash Course on Copyright.

Reviewing Effectiveness

Compared to our peers, FMU receives remarkably few (averaging less than two per year) peer-to-peer file sharing takedown notices. We will continue to monitor these notices to watch for unexpected increases that would require additional measures.

Last Published: June 23, 2010 10:30 AM
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