UCB Libraries


Press FAQs

The University of Colorado at Boulder strives to raise awareness campus-wide about copyright and file sharing issues. An extensive print campaign, electronic communications, and online resources are a few of the ways the University reaches out to the campus community with pertinent information. In addition, increasing user understanding of copyright and file sharing issues is a secondary goal of the procedures the campus uses to address copyright violations. In early fall 2003, before the recording industry's September suits were publicized, fully 86% of residence hall students responding to a survey indicated that they were aware of the campus's policies concerning copyright.


1. How does the University address notifications of copyright violations?

CU-Boulder has implemented a three strikes procedure to address notifications of copyright violations.


On the first notification, the user is given a warning, and asked to cease the copyright violations (which could be downloading and/or serving music files, movies, software, or any other copyrighted materials). (For faculty and staff, a supervising authority is notified.)


On the second notification, the user will have his/hernetwork access suspended immediately. That access will be reinstated only after the user completes an educational requirement. (For faculty and staff, appointing authority is notified.)


If after completion of the educational requirement, a third notification is received, network access shall be suspended immediately, and the case will be referred to Judicial Affairs (for students) or to the appointing authority ("supervisor" to avoid jargon). Judicial Affairs or the supervisor shall then determine if network access is reinstated, if at all, and decide what other corrective actions are appropriate.


2. Do students lose all of their computing privileges when their network access is suspended?

Depending on the situation, students can lose their network access due to copyright violations. This means loss of ethernet connection within the residence halls. At no time does a student lose email account or other login privileges. Access to email, registration, and other academic and student services are available at all times on campus at kiosks or in computer labs, or via an alternate online service provider off-campus.


3. Does the University scan its network for copyright violators?

The University of Colorado at Boulder does not scan its networks for copyright violations, but is required by federal law to respond to notifications of copyright violations on its networks.


4. How does the University receive notifications?

Typically, the University receives notifications of copyright violations from the RIAA (Recording Industry Associate of America) or the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). These notifications indicate the IP address over which the alleged violation took place. The university contacts the person associated with that IP address.


5. How many notifications does the University receive?

Last spring, the campus received as many as 80 notifications in a week, although the average was closer to 30-50. In the two months of the fall 2003 semester, the University received just over thirty notifications for its residence halls, and a handful for other on-campus connections.


6. Where does file sharing occur?

Most notifications of copyright violations are received for activity in the residence halls. However, faculty, staff, and students who connect to CU via VPN are also subject to campus procedures regarding copyright violations, and can also received notifications


7. What does the University do to limit file-sharing?

The campus has a robust awareness campaign in place for students, as well as for the rest of the campus community. Bus placards, posters, table tents, and electronic communications send the message that copyright violations, which include unauthorized downloading AND sharing of copyrighted materials is illegal.


The campus also uses automated technology to "shape" network traffic. This technology allows an automatic response to “bandwidth hogging”—if an IP address is using far more than its share of the bandwidth, the speed to that access point is automatically decreased, slowing download and upload times, and, with luck, discouraging the transfer of excessively large files.


8. Why does the University have its "three-strikes" procedure for copyright violations?

As an online service provided (OSP), the University of Colorado at Boulder is required by federal law to respond to notifications of copyright violations. A campus committee was convened during summer 2003 to develop procedures that would curb illegal file-sharing, and that would be able to be used campus-wide. The committee decided on a three strikes procedures because it would limit repeat offenses, and because it is a model that has been adopted at many universities nation wide.


9. Does the University release the names of people implicated in copyright violation notifications?

Under normal circumstances, the University does not release any information about the users associated with notifications of copyright violations. However, the University does provide that information when served with a subpoena that requests it.


10. Have any users of the campus’s network been sued by the recording industry?

In September 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued over 200 people for copyright violations; twenty were Colorado residents. The University does not comment on such personal suits, even if the parties named have some affiliation with the University.


This site is not intended to provide legal advice about copyright.