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Copyright Infringement and Responsible Computing

  • Computers

    Computers are available for student use at each campus. Computers are located in the computer labs, classrooms, and Library Resource Centers. SCC welcomes students to use the available computer facilities for completion of school-related projects. SCC provides licensed software on its computers for students’ use and training.

    Students are not to use software other than the software installed on the SCC machines and are not to modify the computers’ directory structure in any way. Users will abide by the guidelines regarding the lawful use of computers and software. Students who do not abide by SCC computer use policy will be subject to penalties outlined in the “Computer Use Violations” section.

    Electronic Devices

    Classroom use of cell phones and personal electronic hand-held devices (e.g., laptop computers, portable video games, iPods, MP3 players, etc.) that are not pre-authorized by the instructor for instructional purposes is prohibited. Violation of this policy may lead to formal disciplinary action. (See also “Cell Phones” and “Telephones.”)

    Higher Education Opportunity Act Reporting Requirement

    The following notice is in compliance with the recently passed H. R. 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act: Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject students to civil and criminal liabilities. If students reproduce or offer full-length sound recordings for download without the authorization of the copyright owner, they are in violation of federal copyright law and could face civil as well as criminal penalties. The most common violations of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material are software and sound recording piracy.

    Software Piracy

    Unauthorized duplication, distribution or use of someone else’s intellectual property, including computer software, constitutes copyright infringement and is illegal and subject to both civil and criminal penalties. The ease of this illegal online behavior causes many computer users to forget the seriousness of the offense. As a result of the substantial amounts of money the software industry loses each year from software piracy, the software companies are enforcing their rights through courts and lobbying for and getting stiffer criminal penalties. It is a felony to reproduce or distribute illegal copies of copyrighted software.

    Sound Recording Piracy

    Another form of copyright infringement is the unauthorized duplication and distribution of sound recordings. Online piracy is increasing as many people use the Internet to illegally distribute digital audio files MP3 format). The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) monitors the Internet daily and scans for sites that contain music. They have been successful in getting the sound recordings removed from those sites. Federal copyright law grants copyright owners (typically, a record company) the exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, distribute and, in some cases, digitally transmit their sound recordings. Therefore, the following activities, if unauthorized by copyright
    owners, may violate their rights under federal law: • Making a copy of all or a portion of a sound recording onto a computer hard drive, server or other hardware used in connection with a web site or other online forum. This includes converting a sound recording into a file format (such as a .wav or mp3 file) and saving it to a hard drive or server;

    • Transmitting a copy or otherwise permitting users to download sound recordings from a site or other forum; and/or
    • Digitally transmitting to users, at their request, a particular sound recording chosen by or on behalf of the recipient.

    Summary of 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 www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.


    Viewing pornography on SCC public-access computers, such as those in hallways, computer labs or the Library Resource Center, is considered sexual harassment and is prohibited. If a class assignment requires any type of research on pornography, students must provide written authorization from the course instructor to the LRC or computer lab staff. Staff will then direct authorized students to a secured location for researching the subject. (See item # 14 below.)

    Prohibited Internet Usage

    (Applies to all computers used by students at Southeast Community College)

    1. Sharing copyrighted material such as MP3s and software is strictly prohibited.
    2. Students must observe copyright laws, license restrictions and SCC policies when receiving, retransmitting or destroying software or data. Any receipt, retransmission or destruction of software or data must observe copyright laws, license restrictions and SCC policies. Copying College-owned or licensed software or data for personal or external use without prior approval.
    3. Attempting to modify College-owned or licensed software or data without prior approval.
    4. Using the SCC Internet connection for gambling, viewing/ downloading/distributing pornography, or other illegal activities.
    5. Attempting to damage or disrupting operation of computing equipment, data communications equipment or data communications lines. Attempting to create or launch viruses or other malicious programs designed to interfere with the SCC or state of Nebraska computing resources including the Internet access system.
    6. Altering or extending beyond intended use of in-room connections. No more than one device should be connected to each active network port. Network hubs are prohibited.
    7. Using in-room connections to provide access to the Internet or SCC resources to individuals not formally affiliated with the College.
    8. Attempting to capture transmissions on the network not addressed to the student’s location. In other words, “sniffing” – the digital equivalent of wiretapping – is not allowed.
    9. Attempting to gain access to any data, software or services, without explicit permission of the owner.
    10. Concealing or misrepresenting user’s or another’s identity using network connections. Examples: Sending electronic mail under an assumed name. Sharing a login password with another individual is prohibited.
    11. Using SCC computing resources, including in-room connections, for personal profit, business ventures, or for any political purpose. In particular, these resources may not be used to support or oppose the candidacy of any person for political office, or to support or oppose any ballot question.
    12. The network is a shared resource. Excessively using network resources that interferes or inhibits the use of the network or Internet access of others is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to applications that use a large amount of bandwidth (for example, Quake, Half-life, downloading MP3s and MPEGs).
      Sending out mass e-mails and/or spamming also are prohibited.
    13. Sending messages that are fraudulent, harassing, obscene, threatening, or other messages that violate applicable federal, state or other law or College policy.
    14. Class Assignment Exception to Computer Usage Restriction:
      • In the rare instance that an instructor may include viewing pornography as part of a legitimate research assignment for a class, the following rules must be followed prior to using College- owned computers or College owned Internet connections to conduct such research.
      • The instructor must provide each student with the specific assignment in writing. This document authorizes a student to access Internet sites that would otherwise be prohibited.
      • To access the restricted sites on a College-owned computer or College owned Internet connection, the student must first clear such access with the LRC staff or the computer lab attendant in the area where the computer is located. Students must provide the LRC staff their name, SCC ID card, and term of the course.
      • The student who is expected to use a computer for these purposes must do so in a discrete location to minimize incidental viewing of restricted sites and materials by others in the immediate area.

    NOTE: Failure to comply with these expectations may result in disciplinary action, which may include being suspended or expelled from the College.

    Computer Use Violations Suspected or alleged violation of this policy should be reported immediately.

    SCC Computer Helpdesk
    402-437-2447 or 800-642-4075 ext. 2447
    email: helpdesk@southeast.edu

    Administrators have the authority to temporarily suspend network access to a computer that is believed to have been the source of a violation. Attempts will be made to contact users prior to the suspension of a computer’s network access. An incident report will be filed and appropriate action taken. Abuse of network and computing privileges is subject to disciplinary action. The appropriate SCC authorities, beginning with the Vice President for Technology, will handle computer use violations. Disciplinary actions as a result of violations may include the following:

    • Loss of access privileges
    • SCC judicial sanctions as defined within the code of student conduct
    • Monetary reimbursement to the College or other appropriate sources if responsible for malicious damage to the College network of information systems
    • Expulsion or suspension from SCC
    • Prosecution under applicable civil or criminal laws

    Student Housing Data Network Acceptable Use Policy

    A “Residence Hall Computer Use Policy” agreement must be signed and returned to the dorm manager before Internet service is provided to the student’s room. The Student Housing Data Network provides resident housing students with in-room connections to the campus data network providing Internet access. The Internet access is a privilege that can be revoked if terms of this policy are violated. Students’ use of the SCC-provided network access indicates their acceptance of this policy, as well as their responsibility to use the connection appropriately and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The SCC Residence Services and Information Technology
    Services reserves the right to modify, change and revise this document as necessary without permission or consent of the users.
    NOTICE: Students cannot use their computer or the Internet for any illegal purpose.

    Examples of illegal usage include but are not limited to copyright infringement, viewing, producing, peer-to-peer file sharing, downloading or uploading or distributing literature, movies, or other media that are illegal in general such as child pornography; harassing, threatening, or intimidating other individuals or groups.

    Legal Download Options For Residence Hall Students

    SCC does not block legal download sites providing residence hall students the opportunity to purchase audio, video, and/or games using the SCC Housing Data Network. Examples of vendors who sell music or subscriptions to music are: iTunes, Napster, Puretracks, f.y.e., eMusic, Spotify, Pandora, Turntable.fm, etc. It will be the student’s responsibility to provide evidence of ownership and/or license for anything downloaded using the SCC Housing Data Network. SCC does use bandwidth shaping and traffic monitoring tools to deter peer-to- peer and unauthorized downloads.

    Recording Devices

    The use of cell phones or electronic devices (e.g., iPad) that are capable of capturing and sending images is strictly prohibited in all locker rooms. “Locker Room” is defined to include any designated area/room/facility where students or employees can change clothes and which contains lockers or temporary storage for clothing and personal possessions. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action, and may be reported to law enforcement officials. Suspected violators of this ban should be reported immediately to the Campus Director or Dean of Student Services. (See also “Electronic Devices” and “Telephones.”)

    Copyright Law

    The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the reproduction of copyrighted materials, including publications, computer software, audio music, video, and audiovisual materials. It is the responsibility of the student when using SCC equipment such as photocopy machines and computers, to adhere to these guidelines. For more information on copyright law, visit the LRC.