Search Information Security site


DMCA Violation Notices Received by UVa

This page details the process of how notifications are handled at when a media company contacts the University to report a possible copyright violation.

Industries that rely heavily on the creation and sale of digital materials - like record companies, movie studios, and software vendors - monitor the Internet aggressively to detect and prosecute violations of their copyrights. When one of these agencies discovers what it believes to be a copyright infringement by a computer on the U.Va. network, it triggers the following chain of events:

The copyright holder or its designated agent sends a DMCA notice of alleged copyright violation notice to the University administration. (Sample DMCA notification)

The University asks ITS Infrastructure Applications group to locate the computer specified in the alleged violation, determine who owns or is responsible for that computer (network device), and send the UVa student or employeea copy of the notice as well as an explanation about the notice and acceptable responses as mandated by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)
So now there are three different parties involved in this DMCA copyright complaint: You, the University of Virginia, and the copyright holder (and/or its agent).

To satisfy UVa and the requirements of the DMCA, you must:

Please be aware that regardless of what UVa does, the copyright holder may still pursue additional legal remedies.

While it may well be that you were unaware your activity was illegal - or that someone else has used security vulnerabilities in your computer to conduct illegal activity without your knowledge - you are still responsible for how your computer is used, and all the outcomes described above still apply. If you'd like some guidance on how to secure your computer (network device) against hackers and other threats, continue to explore our security site at and follow the guidance there.

  1. If the copyrighted file, song, movie, etc., was obtained legally, you do not need to delete it. If it was obtained via illegal download or illegal copying of someone else's disc, then you must delete it.
  2. You need to remove or disable the file sharing software on your computer (also called "torrent" software). For assistance, please consult: Resources for Controlling Peer-to-Peer (P2P File Sharing Applications You can also, for free, contact the UVa Help Desk at: 434-924-HELP or UVa Help Desk Web Consult Page
  3. Last but not least, you must REPLY promptly to the email we sent you with this statement typed out: "I have ceased the unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material from my computer."
    (What does promptly mean? If you are a UVa student "promptly" means by the next business day. If you're an employee, "promptly" means within one business day.)
  4. If you don't reply back within this time limit, your computer's UVa network access will be blocked. This means you will not be able to get to anything on the Internet. When you open a web browser (e.g, Internet Explorer (IE) or Firefox) you will be re-directed to a Network Registration Block webpage where you can resolve the issue by attesting that you have ceased unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material and then your computer will be automatically unblock in 5 to 60 minutes.

Can the University protect the personal identities of alleged illegal file sharers at UVa from the copyright holder and/or industry representatives?

The University cannot protect individuals who, knowingly or not, distribute copyrighted material without an appropriate license or authorization. Typically, when a copyright holder or its agent sends a DMCA copyright complaint to UVa, they don't ask us to identify the specific person whose computer hosted the alleged infringement; they just want it stopped. If they do make such a request via a court order (e.g., subpeona), though, the University has no choice but to comply. Individual students have been sued for copyright violations in cases like these.

Joel Tenenbaum's illegal filesharing troubles started while he was a college student, but didn't end when he graduated in 2006. Supreme Court declined to hear Mr. Tenebaum's appeal, and in June 2013, after exhausting all other court appeals, the original judgement in the long-running file-sharing case between Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Boston student Joel Tenenbaum was upheld. The original damages awarded were $675,000 for sharing 30 songs ($2,250 for each song). Details at:
Supreme Court declines to hear Joel Tenenbaum appeal and Wikipedia - Joel Tenenbaum


If you are certain that you are legally using the material the copyright owner says you are infringing upon, or that the copyright owner has misidentified the material, you can file a counter-notice - after you remove the specified material from your computer or network access to your computer (network device) has been disabled. If is highly unlikely that you should file a counter-notification. To do so, you must reply to the UVa email you received and show us you have completed the steps detailed in the DMCA Counter-Notification webpage.

Report an Information
Security Incident

Please report any level of incident, no matter how small. The Information
Security Office will evaluate the report and provide a full investigation.

Complete Report Form