How MSU is Combating Digital and Electronic Copyright Infringement?

Education and Deterrence

MSU has a comprehensive program of education and deterrence, key elements of which include:

  • Information about digital and electronic copyright infringement which is shared with new students, faculty, and staff during orientation
  • Sessions that focus on this issue during MSU’s annual Cybersecurity Awareness Week
  • Guidelines for appropriate uses of copyrighted material in education and research as outlined in University policy OP 01.20
  • Requirement that members of the University community annually acknowledge OP 01.12 (Use of Information Technology Resources), which covers digital and electronic copyright infringement
  • Availability of legal download alternatives through sites such as those recommended by the RIAA and MPAA

Detection and Remediation

The University also pursues an aggressive, proactive program of detection and remediation. Network activity is continually monitored for patterns of illegal or unacceptable downloading/file-sharing behavior.

When such activity is detected involving a student, the computer is isolated from the network through a process known as “Network Quarantine”, limiting further potentially illegal activity. For a first-time offense by a student, the computer is placed in Level 2 Network Quarantine, requiring them to present themselves to the Dean of Students for counseling and potential disciplinary action. Assuming satisfactory resolution of the problem, the Dean of Students will authorize Information Technology Services (ITS) to remove the computer from quarantine.

When such activity is detected involving an employee, IT support personnel are dispatched to remediate the problem.

DMCA Notices

When organizations such as the RIAA and MPAA suspect copyright violations associated with the MSU campus network, a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice is sent to Information Technology Services. The DMCA notice identifies the date and time of the alleged violation, along with the network address of the computer involved.

In the case of students, ITS responds to these notices by placing the computer in Level 2 Network Quarantine as described above.

In the case of faculty, ITS responds by dispatching IT support personnel and notifying the unit head, the Provost’s Office, and the Head of ITS.

In the case of staff, ITS responds by dispatching IT support personnel and notifying the unit head, Human Resource Management, and the Head of ITS.

Technology-based Deterrents

MSU employs a variety of technologies to detect and deter illegal file-sharing/downloading activities, including:

  • Authenticated wireless network, giving the ability to identify individual users and computers involved in illegal or inappropriate activity
  • Aggressive program of remediating problems identified by DMCA notices
  • Continual analysis of network traffic, searching for tell-tale signatures of harmful activity or abnormal bandwidth consumption.

Review and Assessment

ITS collects statistics on DMCA notices received, along with Network Quarantine statistics. These data are analyzed to assess the efficacy of the University's plan to combat digital and electronic copyright infringement. Based upon this ongoing assessment, modifications to the plan or elements of the plan are made, as appropriate.