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Chief Information Security Officer Email 401-863-7266

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Compliance Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Brown University is considered an “internet service provider” (ISP). This policy establishes the principles and responsibilities associated with the use of Brown University’s Information Technology Resources network systems in Brown University’s response to Copyright Infringement Takedown Notices under the DMCA and details the consequences for violating this policy.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to Brown University faculty, staff, students, and anyone who directly, or through any agent acting on their behalf, uses Brown University’s Information Technology Resources, regardless of affiliation with Brown University.

3.0 Policy Statement

Individuals who use Brown University’s Information Technology Resources must comply with the provisions of the DMCA, which states that it is illegal to download, upload, or distribute in any fashion, a Copyrighted Work in any form. Lawful methods of using Copyrighted materials include, permission from the Copyright Owner, purchase of a license or of the media, or qualification for an exception under Copyright law (e.g. fair use).

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:


Any device, equipment, software and hardware purchased with Brown administered funds, including funds derived from University budgets and external grants.


A type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression.

Copyright Infringement Takedown Notice:

Email sent to on behalf of the Copyright Owner, providing the specific details of the claimed infringing action (such as the name of a file, reported IP address and port, and time and date of the infringement), and requesting that any alleged illegal use cease immediately as described under the DMCA.

Copyright Owner:

A person or a company who owns all or any one of the exclusive rights of Copyright for a work.

Copyrighted Work:

An original expression embodied in any tangible medium (including electronic) that is protectable under Copyright law. Types include email and web information, lecture notes, textbooks, articles, books, photographs, paintings, sculptures, software, musical compositions, movies, games, architectural drawings, and graphics.


Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

DMCA Designated Agent:

The agent designated by the University to receive Copyright Infringement Takedown Notices associated with the use of Brown University Information Technology Resources. See Brown’s DMCA directory listing for details.

Information Technology Resources:

Brown-Owned facilities, technologies, and information resources used for Brown University processing, transfer, storage, and communications. Included, without limitations, in this definition are computer labs, classroom technologies, computing and electronic devices and services, email, networks, telephones (including cellular), voice mail, fax transmissions, video, multimedia, and instructional materials. This definition is not all inclusive but rather reflects examples of equipment, supplies and services. This also includes services that are Brown-Owned, leased, operated or provided by Brown or otherwise connected to Brown resources, such as cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), or any other connected/hosted service.

Personal Endpoint Device:

Any Endpoint Device that has been purchased directly by a member of the Brown University community, using their personal funds not administered by Brown.

United States Copyright Act of 1976:

Legislation that provided the basic framework for the current copyright law, was enacted on October 19, 1976, as Pub. L. No. 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541. The 1976 Act was a comprehensive revision of the copyright law in Title 17.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals using Brown University Information Technology Resources are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.

Anyone Using Brown’s Information Technology Resources:

  • May use all or part of a Copyrighted Work only if (a) they have the Copyright Owner’s permission, (b) have purchased a license or the media, or (c) the use qualifies as a legal exception under the Copyright Act.
  • Is prohibited from illegally downloading or sharing the Copyrighted Work.

Office of Information Technology (OIT):

  • Identifies a DMCA Designated Agent for Brown University and registers that Agent.
  • Follows the notification and takedown procedures required under the DMCA and the Copyright Act, investigating all Copyright complaints received by the University through the formal Copyright Infringement Takedown Notification process, and will promptly determine if the notice complies with the notice requirements of the DMCA as established in the corresponding Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
  • Investigates disputed infringement findings to determine their legitimacy and notifies claimants of results.

For Copyright Infringement Takedown Notices where the University’s network system serves solely as a conduit, e.g., a Personal Endpoint Device, OIT will:

  • Attempt to identify a person associated with the material that the Copyright Infringement Takedown Notice identifies as infringing the Copyright.
  • If identified, inform the responsible party of their obligations under the DMCA to remove the Copyrighted Work.
  • Notify Responsible Administrators of repeat offenders according to notification procedures.

For Copyright Infringement Takedown Notices where Brown-Owned equipment is being used to host filesharing activity that infringes Copyright, OIT will:

  • Attempt to identify a person associated with the material that the Copyright Infringement Takedown Notice identifies as infringing the Copyright.
  • If identified, inform the party responsible that they must cease filesharing the infringing material immediately, as the action places them and the University at risk of legal action. 
  • Direct the individual to the document where they must acknowledge that they have removed the content per the DMCA Compliance SOP.
  • Notify Responsible Administrators of non-compliance according to notification procedures.
  • If necessary take down the claimed infringing material.

In addition, OIT will maintain the DMCA Compliance Policy and its related SOP and provide annual notifications to the Brown community regarding their obligations.

Recipients of Infringement Notifications: Must respond within seven (7) days, by either removing the material identified as infringing from their device and providing a notification of completion or providing a reason they believe the claim is not legitimate.

Responsible Administrators: The following offices are responsible for any necessary disciplinary actions as determined by their policies and procedures.

  • Student violations: The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards
  • Staff violations: Employee and Labor Relations, University Human Resources, or as applicable, Office of Biomed Human Resources
  • Faculty violations: Appropriate Dean

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures. For those who are not active faculty, staff, or students, violating this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or revocation of the user’s relationship with Brown University and/or Brown-provided services. Repeat infringers may have their Brown Information Technology Network access revoked or blocked.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures

7.3 Related Forms:

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

Policy Approved by: President

Contact Information:

Chief Information Security Officer Email 401-863-7266

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

 Added language to address disputed infringement findings. Previous policy version(s) superseded by this policy:

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Compliance Policy, Effective Date: March 15, 2022
  • Copyright Infringement Policy, Final Version Date: July 2, 2003, Last Reviewed and Revised: February 2017


Webpage Updated February 7, 2023