The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Since 2007, the RIAA has been increasing their efforts to curb the illegal sharing of content, which violates copyright. It is important that you know the implications that your actions in the digital realm may have. In 2007, NAU sent the letter below and these resources to all students via email; students must realize that they are responsible for any copyright infringement originating from their computer on ResNet. Please take some time to review this information, if you have further questions please contact the Student Technology Center.

Do you download copyright-protected music without ever paying a dime? Here is some information you need to know regarding the Recording Industry Association of America "Settlement Letters" and "Preservation Notices" for copyright infringement.  

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is stepping up actions against individuals who illegally share copyright-protected music. The new method they are using is sending "settlement letters" to higher education institutions and other Internet service providers. These "settlement letters" are to be forwarded to individuals alleged to have infringed on RIAA copyrights. The RIAA does not have the individual's name, just their Internet address. The service provider must match this address with personal information and forward to the appropriate recipient. The letters provide a web address where the recipient can go and pay a fine for the illegal activity in lieu of risking a lawsuit.  

The RIAA is also sending "Preservation Notices" which request that the Internet service provider preserve contact information for alleged infringement activities. The preservation letters do not contain specific information about infringement activities and are addressed to the service provider rather than the individual alleged to be infringing copyright.  

In July 2007, Northern Arizona University received twelve settlement letters, which we forwarded to the students in question, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In accordance with the university's Network Acceptable Use Policy, network access will be blocked and the settlement letter forwarded to the identified student. Network access will be re-instated after the student contacts the Student Technology Center. Second offenses will be referred to Student Life, as is the current practice for DMCA notices. If a "Preservation Notice" is received, we will preserve our records of the network activity in the same manner as for DMCA infringement notices, however we will not block the student''s network access. Northern Arizona University will not release student contact information to the RIAA unless served with a subpoena or otherwise legally required to release the information

The university will not give any legal advice regarding these letters and this letter should not be considered legal advice. A student who receives a letter is entirely responsible for response to the letter and may want to seek appropriate legal advice before responding.  

According to the DMCA, service providers such as Northern Arizona University are not required to monitor network traffic and seek out infringing activities and that is the university''s current practice. However, once notified of infringing activities by a copyright owner, the university is required to remove the infringing material from its network. The university is not changing how it responds to complaints of digital copyright infringement. All allegations of violations are treated the same whether the infringement involves music, video, games, or other software. If you have any questions, please call the Student Technology Center at 928-523-9294. 

Background information 

File Sharing at NAU

Be sure to visit nau.edu/its/learn/filesharing for a list of legal alternatives to peer-to-peer software.

Information on Sharing and Recent Developments



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Related Services

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ResNet, or Residential Network, provides a high-speed Ethernet and wireless connections to every student living in the residence halls of Northern Arizona University.

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Training & Documentation


Information about illegal file sharing and some legal alternatives to it.


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