Southwestern College

Copyright Information

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) (pub. L. 110-315) added provisions to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) requiring institutions to take steps to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials through illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property.

Below is important information from Southwestern College regarding appropriate use of copyrighted materials.


Acceptable Use Policy

  • Violation of Copyrights. Information and resources accessible via District computer accounts are the private property of the individuals and organizations who own or hold rights to the resources and information. Users must not access information or resources unless permission to do so has been granted by the owners of rights to those resources or information. Users must not submit, publish, plagiarize, or transmit material which violates or infringes upon the copyrights held by others.
  • Any student or staff member who uses District resources illegally or improperly may be subject to disciplinary actions, revocation of access to the District network, and possible legal action. The District will review alleged violations of the Acceptable Use Policy on a case-by-case basis. Failure to abide by these guidelines will result in revocation of privileges to use the computer systems. Students may also be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal from the institution. Staff members will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

The District uses network technology to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials through peer-to-peer file sharing of intellectual property and cooperates fully with external agency reports of copyright violations.

Standards of Student Conduct Policy and Procedure

  • This procedure contains information on actions subject to disciplinary action violations and the subsequent disciplinary process. These actions include cheating, or engaging in other academic dishonesty including copying from another’s work; discussion prohibited by the instructor; obtaining exam copies without permission; and using notes, other information, or devices that have been prohibited. Plagiarism in individual or group work or in a student publication, including the act of taking the ideas, words or specific substantive materials of another and offering them as one’s own without giving credit to the sources

Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

  • Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

Information Security Program

The District safeguards customer information using a variety of means. For WebAdvisor (Ellucian Colleague) the Institutional Technology Office (a) maintains password protected user accounts at designated security levels, (b) requires SSL encryption for transmitting confidential information, and, (c) uses an authorized service provider for processing credit card payments. Using Colleague e-Commerce, WebAdvisor does not store credit card numbers. The Finance Office ensures PCI DSS compliance for credit card activities by other departments.

The Institutional Technology (IT) Office uses firewalls, intrusion prevention and security VLANs to counter network-based threats. The IT leadership team conducts risk assessments for IT resources. IT has two network professional staff members serving as representatives on the newly formed California Community Colleges Information Security Center (ISC) committee. ISC offers new services to all California Community Colleges including free vulnerability scanning and server monitoring. The ISC has licensed data security training videos for use by district employees and has provided baseline information security policies and procedures.

The newly formed Data Governance Working Group (DGWG) uses the ISC information security training videos to help promote data protection awareness and practice around data protection regulations – PII, PCI DSS, FERPA, HIPAA and GLBA. The DGWG is overseeing the implementation of the Data Governance Framework that includes training and communication plans for implementing data governance and developing new or revised data-related policies and procedures to include information security. The DGWG has identified Data Classification Categories and key roles for data governance (e.g., data steward, data owner, data consumer, data staff). The DGWG and IT Office are reviewing ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards for guiding the development of a comprehensive information security management plan for the District.

Last updated: 4/28/2014 4:24:55 PM