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Handling DMCA notices of copyright infringement

Purpose

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) revised copyright law for the digital environment to, among other things, define how alleged copyright infringements are to be handled and establish liability limitations for Online Service Providers (OSP). As an OSP, K-State must act promptly and follow the procedures outlined below in order to comply with the DMCA, facilitate the protection of copyrighted material, and limit the institution’s liability in an alleged case of copyright infringement.

Designated agent for receiving notification

The DMCA requires designation of an agent of the institution to receive notifications of alleged copyright infringement. K-State registered its designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office and published the contact information on K-State's copyright information page, as required by the DMCA.

The person designated at K-State to receive notification of claims of copyright infringements, hereafter known as the "designated agent", is:

Elizabeth Shannon
Office of Information Security and Compliance
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 785-532-2540
Email: eshann@k-state.edu

If anyone at K-State other than the designated agent receives a notification of claimed infringement, do not accept it. Refer them to K-State’s copyright information page and take no further action. Do not forward the request to K-State’s designated agent since it is the copyright owner’s responsibility to follow the notification requirements of the DMCA.

Procedure

Receipt of notification
  1. Designated agent receives a notification of alleged copyright infringement from the copyright owner or agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner (hereafter called the "complainant").
  2. Designated agent verifies the completeness of the notification per requirements listed in section 512(c)(3) of the DMCA. The notification should include the following:
    1. A physical or electronic signature
    2. Identification of the infringed work
    3. Identification of the infringed material
    4. Contact information for the complainant, e.g., address, phone number, e-mail address
    5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner or the law
    6. A statement that the information contained in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner
  3. If it is incomplete, the designated agent replies to the complainant indicating such.
  4. If complete, the designated agent forwards the notice to Chief Information Security Officer for verification of infringement.
Verification of infringement
  1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) verifies that the infringement notice contains the following information to assist in the investigation:
    1. File name or other appropriate identification (like a web URL) of the infringing material
    2. Date and time of infringement (be sure to adjust for time zone)
    3. IP address and/or fully-qualified domain name of the source of the material
    4. Or other information "reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material" (DMCA section 512(c)(3)(iii))
  2. The Information Security and Compliance office (ISC) verifies the infringement by, for example, analyzing network flow data, accessing the infringing material with the implicated file sharing application, or the like.
  3. ISC will also try to identify the location and the owner of the computer alleged to hold the infringing material using the information provided in the infringement notice and any other appropriate diagnostic tools.
Response to complainant
  1. Upon verification of infringement, the designated agent will reply to the complainant via e-mail with the following message: "Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We will investigate and take appropriate action according to university policies and procedures."
  2. If the infringement cannot be verified, the ISC will inform the designated agent who will then respond to the complainant indicating such.
Take-down of infringing material
  1. Upon verification of infringement, ISC will send a request to network@k-state.edu (Computing and Telecommunications Services (CTS) network staff) requesting that the computer hosting the suspected material have its network access blocked per normal K-State security procedures, as described in Removing Compromised Computers from the Network. The reason for the block will be designated as "DMCA notice" in the K-State computers blocked from network access list. Note that computers in the residence halls are not added to this blocked hosts list. The request from ITSO to CTS should include the IP address, MAC address, NetBIOS name, and any other relevant identification information such as the eID of the owner if known.
  2. CTS network staff will post the block notice to the sirt-contacts LISTSERV mailing list.
Notification of infringing party ("Subscriber" in DMCA terms)
Residence hall student notification
  1. If the infringing party is a student living in a K-State residence hall, the ISC will send the following information to the Help Desk Coordinator in Housing and Dining Services (H&DS) and cc the IT Manager in H&DS:
    1. Original DMCA notification
    2. Identification of the computer and individual responsible for the alleged infringement
  2. A representative from Housing and Dining Services will send an e-mail or postal letter to the alleged infringer.
  3. If the infringing party does not choose to submit a counter notification (see below), he/she must print and sign the infringement acknowledgment and return it in hard copy to the Housing and Dining Services representative in order to acknowledge the infringement and confirm removal of the infringing materials.
  4. When Housing and Dining Services receives the written acknowledgment, they will notify the ITSO and the designated agent via e-mail or phone and send a copy of the signed infringement acknowledgment to the designated agent.
  5. The Housing and Dining Services representative will request removal of the network block through the normal Removing Compromised Computers from the Network procedure.
Faculty or staff notification
  1. Since Fair Use may legitimize availability of copyrighted material posted by a faculty member, and blocking access to or removal of materials could substantially disrupt teaching or research, handling of infringement notices involving faculty or staff needs to occur quickly and in cooperation with the parties involved.
  2. The designated agent will send an e-mail or letter to the alleged infringer, attaching the infringement acknowledgment.
  3. A copy of the notification will be sent to the appropriate unit head.
  4. If the infringing party does not choose to submit a counter notification (see below), he/she must print and sign the infringement acknowledgment and return it in hard copy to the unit head who will verify compliance, notify the designated agent, and send a copy of the signed infringement acknowledgment to the designated agent.
  5. The unit head or designee will contact the department’s SIRT representative to request removal of the network block through the normal SIRT procedure (Removing Compromised Computers from the Network).
Other notification
  1. If the identity of the alleged infringer cannot be determined, the CTS network analysts will leave the network block in place and notify the ISC and the designated agent. The designated agent will respond to the complainant indicating the network access to the infringing material has been blocked but the identity of the infringer cannot be determined.
Counter notification
  1. If the alleged infringer believes in good faith that the DMCA notice is in error, they have the right under the provision of the DMCA to submit a counter notification to K-State’s designated agent. The counter notification must include substantially the following information:
    1. The individual’s physical or electronic signature
    2. Identification of the material removed or to which access has been disabled
    3. A statement under penalty of perjury that the individual has a good faith belief that removal or disablement of the material was a mistake or the material was misidentified;
    4. The individual’s name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the individual consents to the jurisdiction of the Federal District court (i) in the judicial district where the individual’s address is located if the address is in the United States, or (ii) in any judicial district where the service provider may be found if the individual’s address is located outside the United States (17 U.S.C. § 512(g)(3)).
  2. Students living in a residence hall will submit the counter notification to the appropriate person in H&DS, who will then forward it to the designated agent. All others will submit the counter notification to their unit head who will forward it to the designated agent.
  3. Upon receipt of a counter notification, the designated agent will notify the complainant of such, and the block will be removed within 10-14 business days unless the complainant files suit against the individual within 10 days and provided the materials and/or access are not in violation of any University policy.
Repeat offenders
  1. DMCA states that "repeat infringers" are subject to "termination in appropriate circumstances" (DMCA section 512(i)(1)(A)).
  2. Repeat infringement by students will be adjudicated by normal Student Governing Association judicial processes.
  3. Adjudication for faculty and staff repeat infringers will be handled by normal employee disciplinary processes.
  4. Repeat infringers are subject to the full range of sanctions, including the loss of computer or network access privileges without notification, loss of eID privileges, disciplinary action, dismissal from the University, and legal action.

Related K-State policies and procedures

References