University Advisory on Compliance with Copyright Law and Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Howard University's network infrastructure is a vital University asset. It enables the academic and research activities of the various Schools and faculties; fosters informed communication with colleagues on campus and around the world; transfers medical images that assist in patient diagnosis; provides remote building monitoring; facilitates the day to day business of education at Howard; and supports our residential community's personal networking interests. Access to the Howard network is provided to faculty, staff, and students primarily to support these and other University mission-related endeavors. As a vital and costly shared resource, the optimization and management of the network is important to us all.

An equally vital University interest is Howard's compliance with copyright and information security laws. The University prohibits the use of the Howard network for illegal activities. Links to relevant policies can be found on this site and the ETS Policy Webpage.

Federal law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display or public performance of copyrighted materials over the Internet without permission of the copyright holder, except in accordance with fair use or other specifically applicable statutory exceptions. Howard may terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyrights of others. Howard complies fully with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 ("DMCA") and has in place the mandated process for receiving and tracking alleged incidents of copyright infringement.

Howard network users should be aware of recent changes in the pre-subpoena notification approach employed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). These changes include notices requesting the preservation of records in advance of a subpoena, and notices providing an option for users to settle in advance of potential lawsuits. University policy remains unchanged. We will continue to comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and federal law pertaining to DMCA subpoenas, and will continue to update the community of significant changes to process or law.

The University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of its network for vital educational and research purposes for which it was designed. All Howard University community members (faculty, staff, students, contractors, etc.) should be familiar with the laws pertaining to the use of digital material and to comply with federal law and University policy regarding use of copyrighted materials.