Illegal File Sharing (DMCA) Standard

Approver Owner Date
Chief Information Officer Senior Director, Computing Infrastructure Services Originally Approved: January 2015
Last Revised: January 2015


This Standard clarifies Portland State University’s (PSU) compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a federal copyright law, and defines the PSU DMCA violation enforcement procedure.

Purpose and Applicability

The purpose of the Illegal File Sharing (DMCA) Standard is to define PSU's DMCA violation enforcement and ensure that PSU is in compliance with the DMCA. It is a violation of federal copyright law and PSU's Acceptable Use Policy to download or distribute copyrighted files to which you do not have rights.

The DMCA covers all copyrighted material, including music, movies, software and books. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) aggressively pursue DMCA violators. The penalties to individuals and the University can be severe. To protect the PSU community, the University has adopted a DMCA violation enforcement procedure and embarked on a DMCA education campaign.

This policy applies to all PSU students, faculty and staff.


  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): A 1998 United States Federal law intended to update copyright law for electronic commerce and electronic content providers. It criminalizes the circumvention of electronic and digital copyright protection systems.

Standards and Procedures

In accordance with the DMCA and the Acceptable Use Policy, it is a violation to download or distribute copyrighted files to which you do not have rights.

If OIT receives a copyright infringement notice from an outside company (e.g., Sony or the RIAA), they will send the individual an email notification explaining the violation. The email notification will include a ticket number that will be used to track communication about and resolution of the issue.

For first time violations, the individual will have one week (7 days) to respond to the OIT email notification before their internet is disabled. The individual may respond by either:

  • Sending an email response,
  • Sending a response via postal mail, or
  • Visiting the Helpdesk in person.

For subsequent violations, the individual’s internet will be immediately suspended, and the case referred to the Office of the Dean of Student Life (a division of Enrollment Management and & Student Affairs).

Related Policies, Procedures, and Information

Point of Contact

Contact the Helpdesk with questions regarding DMCA violations. To report instances of illegal file sharing, email