Return to: Student Rights and Responsibilities
Copyright Infringement and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by any means, including peer-to-peer file sharing, is a violation of Federal copyright law and a violation of our Technology Resources, Copyright and Intellectual Property policies.
Violations may result in disciplinary action and even criminal prosecution. Per the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), when copyright holders or industry groups like the Recording Industry Association of America contact the University about specific incidents of infringement, the University must respond by removing or disabling access to the infringing material. Per University policy disciplinary action may include loss of network access privileges or even dismissal, and the University will cooperate fully with any criminal investigation.
Peer-to-peer technologies may be used for legitimate purposes such as instructional gaming, open source downloads, and licensed distribution of media files; however, unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material is subject to civil and criminal liabilities. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or statutory damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For willful infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the Digital Millennium Copyright Act web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/, especially their FAQ’s at http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq.
Policy Revised 11/01/2012
Electronic Network Access
In order to ensure the conditions of equal and general access to communication and information within Fielding’s geographically dispersed community, all faculty and students are required to have registered individual portal (myFielding) accounts. All community members are expected to review relevant announcement areas weekly. Fielding deems notification or communication that it posts via myFielding to community members to be sufficient notification or communication for both official and informal purposes.
New students are expected to establish their myFielding connection within their first week at Fielding. We recognize that occasional interruptions may occur in an individual’s myFielding accessibility and consider it the individual’s responsibility to continue to be informed. Such interruptions are not grounds for being on a list to receive hard copies.
Alumni (e.g., those who have earned a degree or academic credit certificate from Fielding), may retain myFielding accounts after separation from Fielding unless they have:
- a balance owing to Fielding;
- been dismissed by the University.
In addition, Fielding reserves the right to terminate the accounts of myFielding users at our discretion.
Policy Revised 11/01/2015
The use of electronic communication is an integral part of learning and institutional functioning at Fielding Graduate University (FGU). Email is the primary form of communication. The implementation of this policy enhances the management, effectiveness, and authenticity of communication between FGU faculty, staff, and students. This policy was approved by the Policy Review Committee and will be reviewed as needed. Changes will be authorized and communicated appropriately.
This policy covers all FGU assigned email accounts. It sets forth that FGU assigned email accounts are the official means of communication and as such specific guidelines and expectations must be established as outlined in the policy section.
- University email: As the official means of communication, FGU has the right to send email and expect messages to be read in a timely manner.
- Assignment of email addresses: FGU will assign official university email accounts in accordance with a specific naming convention. The naming convention ensures consistency between various services.
- Redirection of email accounts: The automatic redirection of all FGU assigned email accounts to another external email address is NOT permitted. Given that email accounts may contain sensitive information auto-forwarding of messages to an external account is considered a security risk.
- Student agreement: Students who are provided with FGU email accounts are considered to have agreed to the following conditions:
- authorizing FGU to accept all correspondence transmitted via electronic mail from the student’s @email.fielding.edu account as a valid electronic message from said student
- authorizing that all communications sent from the student’s @email.fielding.edu account is acceptable as a proxy for the student’s written signature, including but not limited to financial transactions
- authorizing that all requests that confidential information be transmitted to the student’s @email.fielding.edu account releases FGU from all liability related to the release of the requested confidential information
- Acceptable Use: FGU email accounts should primarily be used for FGU academic and business related purposes. Incidental and occasional personal use of email may occur, but it should not incur cost or impact university resources. Unacceptable uses include but are not limited to:
- use of email for commercial or financial gain;
- sending inappropriate email that is offensive, intimidating, demeaning, or harassing; use for any illegal or unethical purpose. This includes sending information that is protected by copyright policy;
- sending mass unsolicited emails for non-university related purposes;
- without prior authorization, posing as someone other than oneself when sending email.
- Privacy: Although the university respects privacy and does employ specific email security measures, it does not guarantee security or privacy for FGU assigned email accounts. FGU will not monitor or inspect university assigned accounts unless under the direction of law officials or the University President. Circumstance for monitoring or inspection include but are not limited to:
- in the course of an investigation for illegal or inappropriate use;
- to protect health and safety; to prevent interference with university business or the academic mission;
- to access critical business information that is not available by other means.
- Educational Use: Faculty may determine how email is used for instructional purposes.
Policy Revised 07/01/2013
This document sets forth the policies of Fielding Graduate University (“Fielding”) regarding use of email, Internet and web technologies, telephony, interactive video and/or other electronic communication systems including voicemail, facsimiles, computers, telephones and related equipment, collectively referred to as Technology Resources. All users of Fielding’s systems agree by such use to comply with the expectations outlined in this policy.
This policy is not new or different, but an extension of the environment within which we already operate. Communication and technology resource policies need to reflect current technical and social environments, which are undergoing rapid development and change. Further, this technology and the social practices that shape its use are changing the nature and boundaries of organizations, personal life, and the public and private domains. In doing so, they are creating areas of social life whose relation to existing informal social norms or public or private policies and laws is not completely clear or resolved. Thus, they call for policies that are regularly and thoughtfully revised to regulate these new, changing areas in a humane and rational way that protects individual and organizational rights and defines individual and organizational responsibilities. As the media in use or the needs of Fielding Graduate University change, this policy will be updated as necessary by the Director of Information Technology and the Vice President for Institutional Planning & Effectiveness and approved by the University Leadership Team.
As an institution founded to support learning, research and the dissemination of knowledge, Fielding Graduate University encourages the free exchange of ideas and information among all of its members and with members of other communities. The tools of communication can be a means of intellectual, social, cultural, emotional and moral growth, but they also can be a means of harassment and destructiveness. The University as a whole finds a compelling need not only to facilitate the free flow of information, but also to encourage civility, to obey the law and to enforce its own policies and standards. Consequently, members in the Fielding community are expected to exercise responsibility, use computing resources ethically, respect the rights and privacy of others and operate within the bounds of the law and of Fielding’s policy and standards.
Information and its related technologies are major institutional resources. Fielding’s strategy is to incorporate information technology as an integral part of decision making, competitive positioning, and delivery of services. The availability of policies to govern the use and possible misuse of Fielding’s computer resources is vital to the integrity of the University.
All members of Fielding share responsibility for maintaining an environment where actions are guided by mutual respect, integrity, and reason. Abuse of these privileges will be subject to disciplinary action, as established by Fielding’s operating policies and procedures. Fielding reserves the right to limit access to technology resources in response to evidence of violations of this policy or federal, state or local laws. All members of the Fielding community are bound by federal, state and local laws relating to civil rights, harassment, copyright, security, pornography, privacy, and other statutes relating to electronic media. It should be understood that this policy does not preclude enforcement under the laws and regulations of the United States of America, the State of California or local communities.
It is our goal to reduce the danger of misuse, destruction, or loss of information especially that of a critical or confidential nature. We attempt to accomplish this without restricting academic freedom or complicating access to information for which members of Fielding Graduate University have a legitimate and specific need.
2 Who is Covered by this Policy
All users of Fielding Graduate University’s technology resources are subject to the provisions of this policy, and are hereinafter referred to as “users” (of technology resources).
Use of these technology resources implies consent with this policy, as well as other applicable University policies. For individuals whose access to Fielding University technology resources is provided primarily for special projects, further policies may apply as governed by the needs of the project.
3 Acceptable Use
Everyone issued an account on a Fielding technology resource system (e.g., myFielding), hereinafter “account,” will be expected to adhere to the Fielding “Acceptable Use Agreement ” (section 3.1). Failure to adhere to the “Acceptable Use Agreement” may be grounds for disciplinary action. Additionally, persons specified in “Who is covered by this Policy” (section 2) are expected to adhere to appropriate communication practices outlined in the Fielding Netiquette Guide.
3.1 Acceptable Use Agreement
The account issued to you by Information Technologies shall be used only in the manner described below.
- Unless specifically designated for multi-user access when created, the account shall be used only by the person to whom it is issued. You are responsible for the actions of anyone using your account.
- All passwords issued are to be held privately and securely. Be responsible for all use of your accounts and for protecting each account’s password. In other words, do not share computer accounts. If someone else learns your password, you must change it.
- The account shall be used only for academic and administrative purposes pertaining to the mission of Fielding Graduate University.
- The account shall not be used for unauthorized access and/or attempts to access technology resources without proper authorization, regardless of whether the computer, software, data, information, or network in question is owned by the university. (That is, if you abuse the networks to which the university belongs or the computers at other sites connected to those networks, the university will treat this matter as an abuse of your Fielding technology resource use privileges.)
- The user shall not take advantage of another’s inexperience or negligence to gain access to any computer account, data, software, or file which he or she has not received explicit permission to access.
- The user shall not send fraudulent electronic communications, break into another user’s account, or gain access to protected information without permission of the owner.
- The user shall not use Fielding’s computing resources to harass or threaten other users.
- Software, other than freeware/shareware, may NOT be copied or distributed, unless permitted by its license (e.g., for backup purposes).
- The user is responsible for maintaining the security of his or her own data and for making back-ups of such data.
4 Individual Privileges
The following individual privileges are extended to all users. However, it is understood that each of these privileges is conditioned upon acceptance of the accompanying responsibilities in section 5, “Individual Responsibilities” below.
4.1 Free Expression
There shall be no restrictions placed on the fundamental rights to free speech except those necessary to protect the rights of others and to preserve the order necessary for the university to function as an institution of higher learning. Given the diverse cultural backgrounds of users, Fielding cannot protect individuals against exposure to materials that they may consider offensive. Nevertheless, Fielding reserves the right to take restrictive actions in response to complaints that posted material creates a hostile environment for individuals or classes of individuals. Fielding also has the responsibility to take restrictive action when a user violates Fielding policy or federal, state or local laws.
Users should not reasonably expect electronic mail correspondence to be treated as confidential. Users should be sensitive to the inherent limitations of shared network resources in protecting privacy. Some examples of this may include printing personal messages on a shared printer, leaving downloaded email or a message or account open on a computer in a public computer lab, etc. Specific personal electronic communications and computer files stored on Fielding Graduate University controlled systems will not be searched deliberately to seek evidence of malfeasance except in a clearly overriding emergency or as part of a formal investigation by a duly constituted authority.
Fielding adheres to fair information practices and students at Fielding are covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA ).
For website management, information is collected for statistical purposes. This information is used to determine usage patterns that have implications for technical design specifications and identifying system performance or problem areas as well as for strategic planning. Personal user information is not made available to external agencies, persons or other institutions except as required by law.
4.3 Personal Use
Users of Fielding technology resources may use them for incidental personal purposes provided that, in addition to the foregoing constraints and conditions, such use does not: (i) directly or indirectly interfere with Fielding’s operation of electronic communications facilities; (ii) burden Fielding with noticeable and avoidable incremental cost; or (iii) interfere with the user’s employment or other obligations to Fielding.
5 Individual Responsibilities
Users of Fielding’s technology resources accept responsibilities that include, but are not limited to, the following specific examples.
5.1 Respect for Intended Use of Resources
Fielding’s technology resources should not be used for personal benefit or conducting personal business enterprises in ways that conflict with Fielding’s mission.
5.2 Respect for Shared Nature of Resources
Users will not encroach on others’ use of Fielding’s technology resources. No user should attempt to modify the university system or network facilities or to crash systems. Users should avoid activities that unreasonably tax Fielding’s technology, resources, including but not limited to: sending an excessive and unreasonable number of messages either locally or over the Internet; participating in electronic chain letters, frivolously printing multiple copies of documents, files or data; excessive game playing; modifying system facilities, operating systems, or disk partitions; or damaging or vandalizing Fielding owned, leased or rented computing facilities, equipment, software, or computer files.
5.3 Respect for Rights of Others
Fielding technology resources will not be used to harm, or threaten to harm, the safety of another individual or individuals. The user must comply with Fielding policies and federal, state and local laws regarding discriminatory harassment. Examples of violations include, but are not limited to: defamation, violation of privacy; intentionally placing a person or persons in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm; giving or causing to be given false reports of fire or other dangerous conditions; or harassment or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or citizenship status, age, disability, or veteran status.
5.4 Unsolicited Communications
Users of Fielding’s electronic communications facilities may send unsolicited mass communications only when authorized to do so in support of Fielding’s business and in compliance with Fielding guidelines. Fielding’s guidelines must be consistent with this Policy and laws on electronic solicitation.
For the purpose of this section, an unsolicited mass communication is one that is broadly distributed to recipients who have not requested or consented, either explicitly or implicitly, to receive the communication. Voluntary subscription to an electronic communications service implies consent to receive the communications of that service. Email address lists maintained by Fielding may not be “harvested” for purposes of solicitations via email.
5.5 Respect for Intellectual Property
Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to the academic discourse and enterprise. This principle encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution. Examples of violations include, but are not limited to: copying copyrighted software without express written permission of the copyright owner; failing to obtain necessary licensing for software or to adhere to all licensing provisions (installation, use, copying, number of simultaneous users, term of license, etc.); plagiarism or inadequate attribution of the intellectual property of others; downloading, sharing or posting of materials such as texts, images, movies, music or other audio works in disregard of copyright restrictions; or unauthorized publication or distribution of another’s work or writing.
6 Reporting Violations
In some situations, it may be necessary to suspend account privileges to prevent ongoing misuse while the alleged violation is under investigation. The Chief Information Officer or designee reserves the right to immediate temporary suspension of the account(s) of anyone suspected of a violation, pending the outcome of investigation by the appropriate office. Under normal circumstances, such action will only be taken with the prior notification and concurrence of the program head or direct supervisor. In the case of minor, first time offenses, the Chief Information Officer or designee may choose to resolve the situation informally without reporting the violation to other Fielding officials. Disciplinary decisions and appeals to those actions will be handled according to existing law and Fielding’s grievance policies and procedures.
7 Administration and Implementation
Systems administrators will manage network systems in a manner that is consistent with the system’s importance for campus communication and the need for privacy of personal electronic mail messages. In connection with their responsibilities, professional staff members may on occasion need access to or monitor parts of the system and thereby be given access to the contents of certain electronic mail messages. System administrators will respect the privacy of personal communications encountered on the systems. However, if, during the course of routine duties, a system administrator encounters information that indicates that a breach of this policy or criminal act has been or is about to be committed, they will report the existence and source of this information to the proper authorities.
Administrators are not responsible for monitoring user activity or content on any network system. However, when they become aware of violations, either through the normal course of duty or by a complaint, it is their responsibility to refer the matter to the appropriate authority for investigation and possible discipline. To forestall an immediate threat to the security of a system or its users, system administrators may immediately suspend access of the people involved in the violation while the incident is being investigated. They may also take other actions to preserve the state of files and other information relevant to an investigation. Specific personal electronic communications and computer files will not be searched deliberately to seek evidence of malfeasance except when the appropriate authorities have reason to believe that it is necessary in order: to enforce policies regarding harassment and the safety of individuals; to prevent the posting of proprietary software or texts, images, or audio works in disregard of copyright restrictions or contractual obligations; to safeguard the integrity of computers, networks, and data either at the university or elsewhere; and to protect Fielding against seriously damaging consequences.
In general, electronic mail is considered information only for the eyes of the sender and recipient(s). There may be exceptional circumstances where Fielding may release electronic mail to other parties. These situations may include, but are not limited to, the death of the account holder, when an absent or terminated employee has received mail associated with his/her job responsibilities, or during the course of a criminal investigation by authorized legal authorities.
8 Purpose of the fielding.edu Domains
The public area of the web site is to generate interest of prospective students, promote the Fielding mission, participate in the academic world, attract favorable media attention and showcase Fielding’s accomplishments. The private area of the site is maintained to support the academic mission of Fielding programs, students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Policy Revised 07/01/2001- Reviewed 08/15/2003