Digital Millennium Copyright Act Compliance Policy

Policy number12-12
Responsible officeOffice of Information Technology
Enforcement officialChief Information Officer
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category12. Information Technology and Data Security

Statement of policy

WMU will promptly process and investigate notices of alleged copyright infringement and take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).            

Summary of contents/major changes

Sets out WMU’s DMCA compliance requirements.  Technical changes to move to new Policy Template.

  1. Purpose of Policy

    To set out WMU’s rights and duties under the DMCA. 

  2. Stakeholder Most Impacted by the Policy

    Individuals who wish to enforce their copyright to materials they assert are improperly posted through the University’s networks. 

  3. Key Definitions

    1. Copyright infringement: violating any exclusive right contained in a copyright; reproducing (to include downloading), distributing (to include file-sharing), or performing copyrighted works without permission

    2. Designated Agent: the individual designated by WMU to received notification of alleged copyright infringement occurring through the University’s networks

    3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): an act that amended U.S. copyright law to address important parts of the relationship between copyright and the internet

  4. Full Policy Details

    1. WMU computing services, including network (wired and wireless) connections, may not be used to unlawfully reproduce, distribute, or perform copyrighted materials (files, programs, songs, videos/movies, etc.).  Sharing or downloading copyrighted material without the copyright holder's express permission is a direct violation of the DMCA.

    2. Pursuant to the DMCA, WMU’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) is its Designated Agent.  Under the Designated Agent’s authority, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) will acknowledge receipt of and handle all complaints alleging infringement violations.

    3. The University will carefully evaluate all claimed DMCA violations to verify whether they meet the statutory requirements.  If the University receives notice that does not meet the statutory requirements, it will take reasonable actions to contact the submitter to obtain the missing information.

    4. Notice.
      1. To notify the University’s Designated Agent of an alleged copyright infringement, the notice must:

        1. Be in writing; 

        2. Include a physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner;

        3. Identify the copyrighted work that allegedly has been infringed;

        4. Describe the material that is claimed to be infringed upon and provide sufficient information to permit WMU to locate that material;

        5. Include contact information of the copyright owner or person authorized to act on behalf of the owner. Contact information must include name, address, telephone number, and email address (if available);

        6. Certify or include a statement that the submitter has a good faith belief that the copyright owner, the owner's agent, or law does not authorize the identified use of the copyright-protected material; and

        7. Certify that the information that the submitter has provided WMU is accurate, to include an attestation under penalty of perjury the submitter is authorized to enforce the allegedly infringed copyrights.

      2. WMU may not be able to act on the complaint promptly, or at all, if the copyright holder or their designee do not provide the information required above.

    5. Notice and Take-Down

      If the University is notified of an alleged copyright infringement, or otherwise becomes aware of facts or circumstances from which infringement is apparent, it will respond appropriately. This may include removing or disabling access to the material at issue. WMU will follow the notification procedures outlined in the DMCA.

    6. Notice of Counterclaim of Infringement
      1. Individuals who have had their materials challenged under the DMCA may file a counterclaim of copyright infringement so long as they provide certain information specified below. There are legal penalties for knowingly misrepresenting a counterclaim.

      2. Counterclaim notification must be in writing and provided to WMU’s CIO.  It must include the following:

        1. A physical or electronic signature of the person filing the counterclaim;

        2. Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled;

        3. A statement under penalty of perjury that the counterclaimant has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification, identify any permissions they hold for subject materials, and   reference the four principles of Fair Use if the counterclaimant believes they are applicable to the claim; and

        4. The counterclaimant’s name, address, and telephone number; a statement that the counterclaimant consents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for Western District of Michigan; and a statement that the counterclaimant will accept service of process from the person who provided notification to the University of the alleged infringement or an agent of such person.

      3. Once the complaining party receives the counterclaim and no sooner than fourteen days from deactivating or removing the content, the University may restore materials or access unless the complaining party serves notice that it intends to seek a court order to restrain infringement. The University may mandate that materials or access not be restored and that other investigation, containment, or disciplinary measures proceed.

    7. Exceptions

      Depending on the use and method of access, Fair Use may be a defense to an assertion of copyright infringement under the DMCA.  The University will evaluate Fair Use defenses when considering take-down requests and/or counterclaims.

  5. Accountability

    For students, failure to follow this Policy could lead to sanctions under the Student Code, up to and including expulsion.  For administrators, faculty and staff, failure to follow this Policy could lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal consistent with Human Resources policy and applicable bargaining agreements.  Additional consequences for non-compliance may include:

    1. Termination of all computing privileges.  Repeat offenders will suffer greater consequences;

    2. Civil and/or criminal sanctions;

    3. Actual damages or statutory damages of not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. “Willful” infringement could result in damages up to $150,000 per work infringed.

    4. Related costs and attorneys’ fees; and/or

    5. Imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine of $250,000.

  6. Related Procedures and Guidelines

  7. Additional Information

    The University offers many resources for those looking to post or use online content and can assist with copyright compliance when they do so.  For additional information, contact your WMU Libraries departmental liaison or the Library Dean’s Office. See

  8. FAQs

    1. Whom should I contact with questions about this Policy?

      Answer:  The Chief Information Officer 


Effective date of current versionJune 15, 2021
Date first adoptedNovember 1, 2011
Revision history
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 21:09 Reviewed by Campus Security Group.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 21:09 Reviewed by LAN Manager's Group

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 15:59 Reviewed and updated through University Policy process.
Proposed date of next reviewJune 3, 2024


Certified by

Chief Information Officer

At the direction of

Jennifer P. Bott

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs