2900P Digital Copyright Safeguards for Students (Procedures)

Original Date: 6/22/2010 * Last Revision Effective: 4/6/2015
Policy Contact: Vice President, Student Affairs


These procedures are intended to implement the requirements of Bellevue College policy #2900 – Digital Copyright Safeguards for Students.


These procedures will apply to all activities involving college-owned software, hardware, infrastructure, services, products and applications. Students connecting personally-owned technology to the Bellevue College network through wired or wireless means will also abide by the provisions of these procedures.

Initial Notifications

All enrolled and potential students will be notified that it is a violation of federal law and college policy to share and/or distribute copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. This notification may be either in printed format or electronic form, but the information contained in each will be the same, and will, at a minimum, include information regarding:

  • copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law,
  • civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials,
  • alternatives to illegal downloading of copyrighted digital materials, and
  • college disciplinary procedures for handling unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

Students will also be notified that information technology services staff and external representatives of the motion picture, music recording, software industries, and vendors who have licensing agreements with Bellevue College will actively monitor Internet traffic to detect incidents of illegal file sharing on campus, and that their computer use on campus is not anonymous.

The specific language of the initial notification and any subsequent updates will be approved by the vice president of student affairs and disseminated to the units responsible for publishing the notifications.

Notification Maintenance

  • Printed copies of this notification will be maintained by student affairs and will be included in the student handbook as well as with initial information mailed to students upon enrollment.
  • Electronic notification will be maintained by information technology services and will be presented to students when creating an account to access the college network or college computers.
    • No student will be granted a Bellevue College login or e-mail account until they have read the notification created to meet the requirements of this procedure and agreed to the provisions of Bellevue College’s acceptable use policies and procedures.

Ongoing Notifications

The information contained in the notification will also be made available to all students on an ongoing basis:

  • A permanent Bellevue College website will be created to post a copy of the notification and related information to students about college expectations with regard to copyright protection.
    • The website will also contain links identifying appropriate sites where digital materials may be legally obtained.
  • Student affairs will email or mail each currently enrolled student a copy of the notification annually.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software

Because many of the Internet users who purposefully or inadvertently copy and distribute digital content protected by copyright without authorization from the copyright holder use file sharing P2P technologies (such as eDonkey, Kazaa, BitTorrent and Gnutella, etc.) the use of P2P software is not authorized at Bellevue College.

Monitoring and enforcement

Information technology services networking staff (ITS) will monitor the use of the college network. ITS will also act as the first responders for any legal notifications from outside copyright holders regarding possible copyright violations involving digital media. This means there are two procedures related to how Bellevue College will respond to detected incidents. The basis for response depends on whether the incident is discovered through monitoring or by notification.

  • Monitoring by Bellevue College
    • If unusual traffic on the network is detected through routine monitoring, ITS staff will make every effort to identify the exact computer and user that is the source of the abnormality.
    • Violators will be contacted by ITS staff and the use of P2P software will be verified. First time violators will be informed of the infringement of college guidelines on copyright.
    • If the software is installed on a college computer it will be removed following established procedures.
    • A database will be maintained by the IT security office to keep track of violators and the nature of their violations.
    • Persistent violators will be turned over to the vice president of student affairs for appropriate disciplinary action.
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notifications
    • If a copyright holder discovers that its content illegally appears on a Bellevue College network, or devices and computer hard drives accessible through the network, they may notify the college of the infringement under the provisions of the DMCA (an update to copyright law affecting digital technology).
    • Upon receipt of such notification or a subpoena, the college is required to investigate and will follow the “take-down” provisions of the DCMA. An appropriate notification of infringement from the copyright holder meets these requirements:
      • Must be written.
      • Must contain the signature of a person properly authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder.
      • Must identify adequately the copyrighted work.
      • Must contain information sufficient to allow Bellevue College to contact the complaining party.
      • Must contain a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that the material is unauthorized.
      • Must contain a statement that the information is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
    • Upon receipt of such notification or a subpoena, Bellevue College representatives may in good faith immediately remove or block access to the allegedly infringing material, with the following protections guaranteed by the DCMA:
      • The college is exempt from copyright infringement claims by the copyright holder for displaying or providing access to the content in the first place, and
      • If the material later turns out to not be protected intellectual property, the college is exempt from claims by the student based on having blocked or removed access in response to the notification.
    • When materials are blocked or removed, the college must notify the alleged infringer that the material has been removed or blocked and identify who notified the college of the possible violation.
      • If the student believes the material is not infringing, they may file a “counter-notice” to the copyright holder and to the college as a response to the take-down notice.
    • The counter-notice must meet the following requirements:
      • Must be written.
      • Must contain the signature of the student.
      • Must adequately identify the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.
      • Must contain a statement under penalty of perjury that the student has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled by the college as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material.
      • Must contain the student’s name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the student consents to the jurisdiction of federal district court for the judicial district in which the student’s address is located.
    • The copyright holder, upon receiving the student’s counter-notice, must bring a copyright infringement lawsuit or Bellevue College is obligated to restore the removed or disabled material.

Technology-based Deterrents

In addition to network monitoring and response to notifications, Information Technology Services support personnel may employ multiple technologies to combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials. All appropriate technology may be used, but could include:

  • Traffic / packet shaping software, which gives network administrators the ability to prioritize network traffic and to determine large bandwidth users and abusers.
  • Blocking P2P traffic either by network configuration or using software designed to reduce or block illegal file sharing.

Legal Alternatives

Bellevue College encourages all students to be aware of their rights and responsibilities with regard to copyrighted materials, and has posted links to a number of legal resources for enjoying music or movies online on its informational website at: https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/servicedesk/students/file-sharing/.

In addition, legal alternatives for downloading copyrighted material may be posted on the library media center (LMC) website (https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/lmc) and other appropriate college sites. Furthermore:

  • The LMC has access to thousands of periodical articles, mostly in their complete text, because of paying a site license. This authorizes use of materials in the databases for academic purposes. Site licenses grant rights and privileges as outlined in the user agreement between the college and the vendor.
  • Databases containing digital images and music are made available in the LMC under the same copyright rules that are used for materials in text.
  • All databases listed in the periodicals/databases section of the LMC website are available 24×7 to all users with a valid student number.
  • All students are required to abide by the requirements of the material being used, either as specified in the specific material, or the particular database.
  • Using material that is not included in a databases covered by a college site license:
    • Students will apply for copyright permission. A template/form is available in the LMC site for this purpose. The process for applying for copyright is also available at the site.
    • Students will go to a lawful public site to purchase the material.

Periodic Review

This procedure and measures taken to implement its expectations will be reviewed on an annual basis to determine if the college is following current best practices in combating the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials by students. This effectiveness review will use relevant assessment criteria as determined by the ITS IT management team.


Peer to Peer software (P2P)

  • A type of computer software used to create interconnected systems for sharing files and resources online between computers.

Digital Content

  • Content stored electronically on a device, such as a computer hard drive, data disk, USB drive, etc. Digital content affected by copyright law includes songs, movies, software, video games, pictures and text.

Copyright Owner

  • Individuals or corporations with the right to control, within certain limits, how their works are published, distributed, and sold. They also have correlative rights to be paid for the use of a work. Copyright owners may represent themselves or may be represented by industry associations, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

Copyright Infringement

  • Copying or distributing copyrighted media such as songs, movies, software, video games, text and pictures, without authorization from the copyright owner.


Violation of any of the provisions of this procedure or its parent policy will be dealt with immediately and may result in disciplinary review. In such a review, the full range of Bellevue College disciplinary sanctions is available, including:

  • permanent loss of computer use privileges;
  • denial of future access to Bellevue College IT resources;
  • disciplinary action – any disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with appropriate procedures as established by the vice president of student affairs;
  • dismissal from the college; and/or
  • legal action.

Internal actions taken by the college to remedy a violation does not preclude the copyright holder from seeking civil and/or criminal prosecution for copyright infringement under state, local, or federal statutes. The federal law specifies that violators can be liable for:

  • litigation costs, attorney fees, and actual damages, or statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 for EACH work infringed. The maximum is raised to $150,000 for cases of “willful infringement.”
  • actions taken to circumvent technological measures that are used to control access to copyrighted works or to prevent infringement of the exclusive rights of copyright owners are punishable by awards of statutory damages of $200 to $2,500 for EACH act of circumvention. This may include circumventing Bellevue College computer or network protections.
  • statutory damages of $2,500-$25,000 for removal or alteration of copyright management information.
  • under certain circumstances, criminal penalties up to $250,000, and/or five years imprisonment.

Relevant Laws and Other Resources

Revision History

Original 6/22/2010
Revisions 9/11/2012; 4/6/2015

Approved By

President’s Cabinet

Last Updated March 5, 2024