Annual HEOA Notifiction

Higher Education Opportunity Act, and the distribution of copyrighted works

The peer-to-peer file-sharing provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA-P2P) require ASU to share information with you annually about copyright policy and law. Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject you to federal civil and criminal liabilities and ASU sanctions.

If you share or illegally download copyrighted music, movies and software without the author's permission, you may have to pay a fine or spend time in jail — even if you did it without knowing you were doing it.

Federal penalties:

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.

  • 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.
  • 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, especially their FAQ at

What is ASU's policy?

ASU routinely receives copyright infringement notices from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other copyright holders. Information in these notices is cross-referenced with ASU's network information to identify individuals who violate copyright laws.

ASU refers copyright infringement cases to the appropriate authorities. In addition to the federal penalties listed above, ASU takes disciplinary action against students who engage in illegal downloading or file sharing. 

ASU penalties may include, but are not limited to:

  • mandatory awareness training
  • notation in your student or employee disciplinary record
  • removal of your computer from the network
  • suspension or revocation of your computer, lab and network privileges

You can read the rest of ASU's policy on this matter in the following documents:

Where can you download materials legally?

Many sites allow legal downloads of music, movies, or software; some offer content free of charge. You probably know of some already: iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Hulu, and Amazon. You can find a list of legal download sites online at:

ASU also licenses some software for students to download and use free of charge. You can find this software online by logging in with your ASURITE ID at:

Where can you find more information?

In addition to the documents and Websites referenced above, you can find more information on copyright infringement from the HEOA-P2P compliance plan.