Policy Manual

HEOA Compliance Procedure

HEOA Compliance Procedure

Information Technology

Georgia College & State University

This document outlines GCSU’s procedure to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA).

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) includes provisions to reduce illegal sharing of copyrighted material through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. HEOA requires institutions to:

  • Make an annual disclosure to students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted material may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps the institution will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials;
  • Certify that the university has developed plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material including the use of one or more technology-based deterrents;
  • Offer legal alternatives to illegal file sharing to the extent practical;
  • Identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.


Georgia College uses a wide variety of methods to inform students about copyright laws, including:

  • Each year the Office of Information Security at Georgia College sends out an email to all student email accounts regarding copyright laws and campus policies related to violating copyright laws.
  • All students are required to adhere to practices stated in the "General Acceptable Use of Technology Policy". All residential students must also adhere to the practices stated in the "RESNET Acceptable Use Policy". Both policies are published in the GC Policy Manual and posted on the University’s website.


Georgia College uses several technology-based deterrents to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, including:

  • GC utilizes Packet Shaping that allows the campus to ensure smooth flow of content to and from the internet with the ability to prioritize traffic based upon need or policy. This technology also allows for Dynamic Partitioning which gives the network administrator the ability to isolate large bandwidth users and abusers. When a high-bandwidth consumption is observed, the user is contacted to ensure that the purpose of usage is legitimate.
  • GC limits identifiable P2P traffic to only a very small percentage of the overall network capacity making it slow enough to be a deterrent.
  • GC blocks all known illegal P2P traffic.
  • GC’s policies and procedures concerning HEOA and copyrighted material are published on the University’s web site. If the University receives a complaint that a user is redistributing copyrighted material, the user’s Internet access will be blocked until the complaint is resolved. If the University receives continued complaints about a single user, the user’s Internet access will be blocked and they’ll be referred to the University disciplinary system for appropriate action.


There are many legal sources to obtain copyrighted material such as music and movies. They have a wide range of business models; some are free and some charge a nominal fee. The Motion Picture Association of America (www.mpaa.org) maintains an up-to-date list of legal sources for this material.


Beginning in 2012-2013 and periodically thereafter GC staff will survey faculty, staff, and students to assess the extent to which our anti-piracy messages are reaching them.