Whitman College Compliance with the HEOA Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements

As a result of the issuing of regulations by the Department of Education detailing the specifics of what institutions will be expected to do in order to comply with the requirements of Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Whitman College Technology Services has taken the following steps in order to demonstrate good faith in doing due diligence to comply with the HEOA regulations. The technological issues in HEOA all relate to issues surrounding the distribution of copyrighted materials. Following are the four main requirements with a brief explanation following each one stating what action steps Whitman College is taking:

1. Make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject students to criminal and civil penalties and that describes the steps Whitman will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyright materials.

Consistent with our educational principles, we view education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials at Whitman. We use a wide variety of methods to inform our community about the law and Whitman’s response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use College computing resources, all members of the Whitman Community agree to the policies listed in the Account Activation Area, which includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • Stories are placed in the school newspaper and posters are mounted in student computer labs and elsewhere to discourage illegal file sharing.
  • Every fall we send an email to all students regarding illegal distribution of copyrighted materials. 
  • The staff from Whitman’s Penrose Library regularly conducts workshops on copyright, illegal file sharing, and related issues, and otherwise keep Whitman community informed on this issue.
  • Computing support staff, including student Help Desk workers, are regularly trained on the College position with respect to copyright issues.  Student workers provide an important channel for communicating with the student community.
  • The College policies regarding acceptable use and copyright are published in the Whitman College Student Handbook, Staff Handbook and Faculty Handbook.
  • Whitman’s policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is published on Whitman’s web site.

2. Certify that we have developed plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyright material.

Whitman currently deploys software called Packeteer to shape bandwidth.  We also have the ability to limit the number of simultaneous traffic flows from our residence hall and wireless networks. When we discover a system using excessive bandwidth, we contact the owner to ensure that the bandwidth consumption is for legal purposes and that the user is aware of the College's policies concerning illegal file sharing.

The College responds to all Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices according to policies published on our web site:

Response to Claims of Copyright Infringement

3. “To the extent practicable,” offer alternatives to illegal file sharing.

WCTS has assembled a resource page on legal media downloads and file sharing that contains links to sites where students may legally download music and video content.

4. Identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

These steps will be reviewed annually by WCTS, in conjunction with the Academic Information Technology Advisory Group (AITAG), Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC)  and IT Security Task Force, and revised as necessary to remain in compliance. Based on the monitoring data that WCTS collects relative to network traffic as well as the volume of DMCA notices received, the review will assess the overall effectiveness of the College’s policy and procedures to promote the legal use of copyrighted materials. Any changes to the policy and/or procedures will take effect at the commencement of the following academic year.