Copyright & File Sharing

To help prevent copyright law abuse and the illegal sharing of data, Congress passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA). The HEOA includes several provisions for all US colleges and universities that address the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted work and are intended to combat the uploading and downloading of copyrighted materials through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing on campus networks.

Understanding Copyright

Copyright is a form of legal protection designed to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for an author or inventor the benefits of his or her original work of authorship for a limited time. Copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and games. Copyright applies to both published and unpublished works.

Digital Copyright Law

In 1998 Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which amended US copyright law and regulates digital media and the copyright challenges of the digital world. The DMCA criminalizes the copying or sharing copyrighted data, including images, music, videos, movies, computer software, and games, without permission from the copyright holder.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

A common form of sharing data online, both legally and illegally, is peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. P2P sharing is method of sharing files with a single user or an entire network of users. Illegal uses of P2P include the sharing or trading of copyrighted files, such as movies or songs, with others.

In compliance with the HEOA, Mills has blocked P2P file sharing services on both Mills-Wireless and the Mills-Guest networks.

Legal Downloads

A list of sources for legal online content is available from EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

For More Information

For more information about copyright at Mills College, refer to the Mills College copyright guidelines and the Mills College Student Handbook (Section I part C, "Computer Ethics, Copyrights, and Intellectual Property").