"Three Strikes"

The University of Colorado Boulder does not scan its networks for copyright violations, but is required by federal law to respond to notifications of copyright violations on its networks.

CU-Boulder generally addresses copyright violations with a “three strikes” procedure. It also recognizes that, depending on the situation, a single offense may be sufficient for immediate suspension or termination of network services and access privileges, and for names of violators to be referred to the appropriate authorities for criminal or civil prosecution.

First Notification

The first time notification is received that a computer on the CU-Boulder network is associated with the downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials, an email is sent to the user registered to that computer (or, sometimes, to a departmental system administrator) informing him or her of the notification. The user has two business days to respond and either demonstrate that the notification was unwarranted (by showing, for instance, that the materials were not copyrighted, or that the use qualified for a legal exception) or indicate that no more unauthorized downloading or distribution will take place.

If any notification is shown to be unwarranted, no record of it is kept.

If the user does not respond within two days and/or if unauthorized use of copyrighted materials continues, network access is suspended (the user’s network connection is disabled) until the situation is resolved. Email and other accounts are not disabled. The appointing or sponsoring authority of faculty, staff, or sponsored affiliates is informed of this first notification. Users who receive a notification of a copyright violation are strongly encouraged to review the educational materials on these copyright pages, and take the self-quiz on the site to check their understanding of the issues.

Second Notification

On the second notification, the user will have his/her network access suspended immediately. He or she is required to submit a signed certification page [Link to PDF Certification1] that states that the user understands copyright issues and the ramifications of a subsequent offense or to demonstrate that the notification was unwarranted. Network access will be restored no sooner than two business days after receipt of the certification page. The appointing or sponsoring authority of faculty, staff, or sponsored affiliates is informed of this second notification.

Third Notification

If after completion of the educational requirement, a third notification is received, network access shall be suspended immediately. The user is again informed by email of the notification. Cases involving students are sent to Judicial Affairs; those involving faculty or staff are referred to the appropriate appointing authority. Network access is not restored, if at all, until the case is adjudicated by Judicial Affairs, or reviewed and decided by the appointing authority. Judicial Affairs and the appointing authority can impose whatever sanctions—including termination of network access; probation, suspension, expulsion (for students); or corrective action (for faculty and staff)—are deemed appropriate.

The existence and imposition of university sanctions do not protect members of the campus community from any legal action by external entities or the university itself.

This site is not intended to provide legal advice about copyright.