The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008, after protracted discussions and controversy. Proposed regulations for implementing the Act were issued by the Department of Education on August 21, 2009, and final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009. While enforcement of the HEOA provisions won't formally begin until July 1, 2010, as of August, 2008 all colleges and universities are required to make a good-faith effort at compliance.

Several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks, imposing three general requirements on all U.S. colleges and universities:

  • An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law.

  • A plan to "effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials" by users of its network, including "the use of one or more technology-based deterrents".

  • A plan to "offer alternatives to illegal downloading".  See Legal Sources of Online Content

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