Computing & Information Services

Reed College Compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Requirements


H.R 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), is a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  It includes provisions that are designed to reduce the illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.  These provisions include requirements that:

    • Institutions make an annual disclosure that informs students that the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials may subject them to criminal and civil penalties and describes the steps that institutions will take to detect and punish illegal distribution of copyrighted materials.
    • Institutions certify to the Secretary of Education that they have developed plans to “effectively combat” the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.
    • Institutions, “to the extent practicable,” offer alternatives to illegal file sharing.
  • Institutions identify procedures for periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.  
This document outlines Reed’s plan to comply with these requirements.

Annual Disclosure

Consistent with our educational principles, we view education as the most important element in combating illegal sharing of copyrighted materials at Reed. We use a wide variety of methods to inform our community about the law and Reed’s response to copyright infringement claims:

  • In order to use college computing resources, all members of the Reed Community endorse a Computer User Agreement that includes a section on copyright compliance.
  • All entering students are required to take an educational copyright quiz in order to activate their Reed computer accounts.  The process includes feedback on wrong answers.
  • Stories are placed in the school newspaper and posters are mounted in student computer labs and elsewhere to discourage illegal file sharing.
  • Each year, students and faculty receive a Technology Survival Guide (TSG) that highlights copyright concerns and points to further information on our web site and other web sites.   In addition, the faculty TSG describes legal ways to use materials in teaching. 
  • Every fall we send an email to all students regarding illegal distribution of copyrighted materials. 
  • Computing support staff, including student Help Desk workers, are regularly trained on the College position with respect to copyright issues.  Student workers provide an important channel for communicating with the student community.
  • The computing staff periodically briefs members of the Student Senate about copyright, illegal file sharing, and related issues.
  • Reed’s policies and procedures concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and our response to infringement claims are published on Reed’s web site.
  • Periodically, all College employees receive email from the President or other officers regarding copyright infringement and related issues.

Plans to “Effectively Combat” the Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

Reed currently deploys a NetEqualizer to shape bandwidth.  We also have the ability to limit the number of simultaneous traffic flows from our residence hall and wireless networks. When we discover a system using excessive bandwidth, we contact the owner to ensure that the bandwidth consumption is for legal purposes and that the user is aware of the College's policies concerning illegal file sharing.

Most peer-to-peer protocols are blocked by default on Reed's network. Anyone with a legitimate academic or business need to use those protocols must request an exception as outlined on our website:

The College responds to all Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices according to policies published on our web site:

Offering Alternatives to Illegal File Sharing

The Reed web site provides links to sites that provide numerous options for obtaining music, videos, and other digital content in a legal manner. Members of the Reed community are encouraged to take advantage of these legitimate sources of digital content. The relevant page on the Reed web site is at:

Reviewing Effectiveness

Beginning in 2012-13 and periodically thereafter, we will survey community members to assess the extent to which our anti-piracy messages are reaching them, the extent to which community members are taking advantage of legal alternatives, the impact of our technical efforts to combat illegal file sharing, and other aspects of our plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

Adopted November 2009