DMCA Policies

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The DMCA is a federal law which protects the copyright of all material in digital and electronic formats such as software (e.g. video games), audio files (e.g. music), video files (e.g. movies), etc.

We would like to remind all members of the School that duplication or distribution of copyrighted material in any format without permission, is a violation of University policy and federal law, and subject to severe penalties.

The software, music, and motion picture industries are all aggressively tracking down infringements of their copyrights. Please do not put yourself and the School at risk.

In accordance with the General Counsel’s office, repeat offenders will have their network access terminated in order to protect the University’s liability.

DMCA Employee Policy

Employee Compliance under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from Harvard University Employee Manual (2/2006)

Harvard complies with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by respecting the copyright protection of works accessible through computers connected to University networks.

Such works include but are not limited to the following:

  • music,
  • movies,
  • television shows,
  • software,
  • photographs,
  • video productions and
  • any copyrighted document or file that can be conveyed electronically.

A) Installing Software to Facilitate the Exchange of Copyrighted Materials

Harvard expressly forbids the use of the Harvard network for illegal activities, including copyright infringement.

Harvard also forbids University employees from installing software whose common use is to share copyrighted material on University computers without specific authorization. (For example, such software includes peer-to-peer filesharing software.) Employees violating this policy will be subject to the full measure of disciplinary action up to and including warnings, suspension without pay, and termination of employment. In addition, the employee may also be subject to civil or criminal penalties. In the case where such applications are required for performing assigned job responsibilities, the software application must be reviewed by school or department desktop or network support personnel to certify that its use will not pose a network security threat.

Exclusion: Legal use of copyrighted material with the permission of the copyright owner or under the fair use or another exemption under copyright law is permitted for legitimate purposes as required by an individual’s position at Harvard (such as research, education and medical diagnosis). Such uses are not considered violations of this policy.

b) Using the University Network to Download or Distribute Copyrighted Materials

No employee shall use University networks or other resources to download or distribute copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under copyright law applies.

c) Violation of this Policy

In the case of a first confirmed violation of these rules, the staff member will be required to sign a statement of acknowledgment regarding the policy and its consequences, unless it is determined that the staff member is not at fault.

In the case of a second, and therefore repeat, infringement, the staff member’s computer and network access will be terminated, unless it is determined that the staff member is not at fault. The outcome of this action is likely to result in job termination in cases where network use is necessary for an employee to effectively perform the duties of the position.