Northern respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects students, faculty, and staff to do the same. It is the responsibility of all members of the Northern community to determine in good faith that their use of copyrighted materials complies with the United States Copyright Law and the NSU Copyright Policy, or to consult Northern copyright advisors Robert Russell or Keith Griebel.

Proper use of copyright materials also extends to electronic resources available on the internet. Anyone using Northern computing and network resources consents to the SDBOR Acceptable Use Policy
The policy outlines the responsible use of all SDBOR/NSU computing and network resources. It states users are expected to abide by guidelines, including: "Respect the intellectual property rights of others. Making unauthorized copies of licensed software or copyrighted material is prohibited. Persons who violate the IT Acceptable Use Policy, as well as other policies regarding the use of copyrighted materials, may be subject to revocation or limitation of their computer and network privileges, other disciplinary actions, or may be referred to appropriate external authorities."


The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008. Proposed regulations for implementing the act were issued by the Department of Education on August 21, 2009. Enforcement of the HEOA provisions formally started on July 1, 2010, and all colleges and universities are expected to comply.
Several sections of the HEOA deal with unauthorized file sharing on campus networks. The HEOA imposes three general requirements on all U.S. colleges and universities:
1. An annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and campus policies related to violating copyright law must be made available.
2. 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" must be in place and active.
3. Institutions must have in place a plan to "offer an alternative(s) to illegal downloading."


Northern has developed and published an Annual Copyright Notice. This notice is sent out at the beginning of each fall and spring semester via e-mail to all students, faculty and staff.
NSU also provides several other resources and/or policies that apply to copyright at


Under federal law, a person found to have infringed upon a copyrighted work may be liable for actual damages and lost profits attributable to the infringement, and statutory damages from $200 up to $150,000. The copyright owner also has the right to permanently enjoin an infringer from further infringing activities, and the infringing copies and equipment used in the infringement can be impounded and destroyed. If a copyright owner hired an attorney to enforce his or her rights, the infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees as well as court costs. Finally, criminal penalties may also be assessed against the infringer and could include jail time depending upon the nature of the violation.
Students are also responsible for observing the policies, rules, and regulations of NSU. Failure to show respect for duly established laws or University regulations will be handled by the Office of Judicial Affairs in conformance with the various policies and regulations.


Northern follows a formal, documented and established procedure of accepting and responding to Digital Millenium Copyright Act notices. Internet bandwidth is monitored in residence life buildings, campus classrooms and administrative offices. Certain limits are established, and if those limits are exceeded, and it is known a peer-to-peer program was used, the computer is blocked from the network. The MAC address is used as an identifier. The machine must be declared compliant before it can be added back to the network. The person who used/owns the computer must visit with the chief IT security officer. If use is abnormally high or the individual continues to use excessive bandwidth, a complaint is filed with the Office of Judicial Affairs and they are responsible for adjudication.


Northern maintains a comprehensive list of legal alternatives for digital downloading. The list of alternatives can be found at Educause.
Training and awareness presentations are conducted throughout the academic year. Those who have violated copyright and fair use policy through downloading and sharing of copyright protected materials must submit their computers to the NSU Help Desk for verification that the material and applications used to download and share the product(s) are removed from their electronic device. In addition, they must meet with the Office of Judicial Affairs for further disciplinary action.