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Legal Notices and Provisions / Legal Notices and Provisions
In support of Harvard Law School’s learning, teaching, and research goals, Information Technology Services (ITS) provides current members of the Law School community with access to the School’s computer and network resources. To ensure that these resources remain available to all members of the community and to protect the substantial investment the Law School has made in its computer and network systems, student access is conditioned upon agreement to and compliance with the terms of this Harvard Law School Computer and Network Resources Usage Agreement. Harvard Law School Computer and Network Resources include but are not limited to: HLS campus and office space; wired, wireless and VPN network equipment; back-office systems (e.g. email, Student Information System); printers, desktop and laptop equipment provided to students, faculty, or staff and any other computing equipment owned and/or operated by the Law School’s ITS department.
No one may use a computer and/or the network in a way that would damage or inappropriately degrade these resources, or disrupt the work of others. Students are prohibited from attempting to:
1) Interfere with the work of others;
2) Gain unauthorized access to computer or network resources;
3) Circumvent or violate local network, electronic accounts, or Web security systems;
4) Use Law School electronic accounts of others;
5) Damage or inappropriately degrade performance of computer and network resources;
6) Willfully misrepresent the identifying attributes of any electronic communications (e.g., date and time of creation or transmission, message identification number, IP address, etc.);
7) Unlawfully use, duplicate, or distribute software and files;
8) Use computer or network resources for commercial purposes without authorization; or
9) Use computer or network resources in violation of any applicable law or Law School policy.
In addition to possible disciplinary action and/or termination of network privileges, the violation of any of these restrictions may result in legal penalties.
Students are responsible for the use of their electronic accounts (e.g., email, network, course websites, and printing) and are not permitted to grant others access to these accounts. Nor should a student disclose his or her password to anyone, including friends or family. ITS staff will not ask students for their passwords when ITS assistance is requested unless absolutely necessary. ITS does not share students' passwords.
The University prohibits the use of the Harvard network for illegal activities. Federal law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display or public performance of copyrighted materials over the Internet without permission of the copyright holder, except in accordance with fair use or other specifically applicable statutory exceptions. Harvard may terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyrights of others. In addition, unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject a student to civil and criminal liabilities. Harvard complies fully with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 ("DMCA") and has in place the mandated process for receiving and tracking alleged incidents of copyright infringement.
Harvard network users should be aware of recent changes in the pre-subpoena notification approach employed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). These changes include notices requesting the preservation of records in advance of a subpoena, and notices providing an option for users to settle in advance of potential lawsuits. University policy remains unchanged. We will continue to comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and federal law pertaining to DMCA subpoenas, and will continue to update the community of significant changes to process or law.
The University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of the Harvard network for vital educational and research purposes for which it was designed. We recommend that all students become familiar with the laws pertaining to the use of digital material and to comply with federal law and University policy regarding use of copyrighted materials. More information may be found at http://www.dmca.harvard.edu/copyright_policy.php and http://www.dmca.harvard.edu/faqs.php.
BitTorrent, Limewire, Gnutella, eDonkey, and other filesharing programs can transmit files on a student's computer to others in violation of copyright laws, with or without the student's knowledge. If these programs are on a student's computer, he or she will be held responsible for any copyright violations that may result.
Electronic communications, communicative attributes of electronic communications (e.g., date and time of transmission, subject, identification number, parties with whom a student communicates, how often, etc.), and files stored on Law School servers will be kept confidential in accordance with privacy policies set by Harvard Law School and Harvard University and by law.
Students should understand that no network is perfectly secure, and that there are substantial risks that communications can be intercepted, or that any message intended for one person can be easily forwarded to another by the recipient. Students should take care that particularly sensitive documents not remain on computer or network systems that are publicly accessible or that others may easily access. Likewise, students are responsible prior to forwarding a message for ensuring that doing so is consistent with the originator’s reasonable expectations.
Network-based system activity, such as network connection and email message transmission, is automatically logged on a continuous basis. These logs include a record of user processes, message subjects, and other user-related data that may be examined by ITS system administrators to maintain system performance and/or prevent damage or degradation, or to ensure compliance with Law School guidelines. ITS also maintains regular backups of network servers, including email messages and files. The purpose of these backups is to restore the system in case of data loss due to a system crash. These backups are subject to the same privacy protections as any network data, but also, obviously, present additional risk.
In the normal course of official duties, ITS system administrators have access to all data on the system, including contents of email messages and communicative attributes. While ITS policy is to avoid coming into contact with or reading any communications, ITS system administrators may, if necessary, come into contact with or read communications in order to ensure proper operation of network resources; the most common circumstance in which this contact occurs is during an attempt to deliver a misrouted message.
System administrators will produce any available log records, messages, and files at the request of the Dean for Administration, Dean of Students, or the Administrative Board.
When a student requests assistance from ITS, he or she implicitly gives the staff permission to view the data in his or her account or on his or her computer to the extent necessary to investigate, diagnose, or correct the problem the student is having, and ITS staff will make reasonable efforts to alert the student to the anticipated and actual scope of any such viewing. The use of encryption to secure the contents of one’s communications or files is permitted.
The rules governing whether electronic communications may be anonymous or pseudonymous are determined by the particular context within which the communication occurs, and the violation of such rules may result in disciplinary action. Three general rules, however, govern all electronic communications, and may not be locally modified without the express curriculum-related permission of the relevant Law School faculty member:
1) Electronic communication systems, whether email or discussion groups, produce records that facilitate the ability to trace such communications. These records may not in all cases reveal the identity of the sender, but they do facilitate the identification of a particular communication’s origin. A student is prohibited from modifying this data in a manner that will interfere with the ability to trace a communication.
2) Members of the Law School community are given accounts based on their legal name; a student may not take steps to hide his or her identity in electronic communication when using Law School accounts, computers, networks, or servers.
3) In no context may a student fraudulently misrepresent his or her identity.
In accordance with the “University-wide Statement on Rights and Responsibilities” included as Appendix B of this Handbook, the Law School neither endorses nor censors any opinion expressed on, or originating on, its computer systems or network. However, because the electronic communications originating from the Law School community automatically carry the Harvard Law School domain name (“law.harvard.edu”), a student should be particularly careful not to inaccurately identify himself or herself as representing or speaking for the institution. More generally, in the use of email or other electronic communication, the same standards of conduct governing the use of telephones and oral and written communication apply. A student may not use email to broadcast messages or “spam” the Law School community.
As with any Law School resource, “misuse” includes the theft or deliberate damage of any Law School equipment or resource. With regard to Law School computer and network resources, it also includes other activities that interfere with the efficient and reliable provision of computer and network services. Such other activities include, but are not limited to, the following specific prohibitions:
1) A student may not relocate or disassemble any Law School network, computer, or peripheral equipment.
2) A student may not connect his or her computer to a network port (data jack) unless that computer is assigned to that port or the port is designated as “roaming.”
3) A student may not attempt to intercept, analyze, record, or tamper with network data packets.
4) A student may not connect non-ITS network equipment to the Law School network. This includes, but is not limited to routers and wireless access points.
In any situation that threatens system security, stability, integrity, or performance, ITS system administrators will take necessary action to defend computer and network resources. These defense measures may include terminating or suspending processes or user accounts without prior notice. ITS will notify the affected user(s) as soon as feasible. Emergency situations may or may not involve deliberate misconduct.
All users are expected to adhere to the specific usage quotas that govern Harvard Law School accounts. Repeated failure to act upon ITS requests regarding such quotas may result in files or messages being deleted from over-quota accounts.
All Harvard users must respect the copyrights in works that are accessible through computers connected to the Harvard network. Federal copyright law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under copyright law applies. In appropriate circumstances, Harvard will terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly and knowingly infringed the copyrights of others, and may also take disciplinary action.
Users may not install software on Harvard owned and operated computers without evidence of a valid software license or other right or privilege to install such software.
Whenever a case of misconduct is suspected by or reported to ITS, ITS will immediately notify the person or persons accused of such misconduct and the appropriate supervisory authority, such as the Dean of Students or the Dean for Administration. As the situation warrants, the supervisory authority will determine the course of any investigation or disciplinary action. After such notification and while any inquiry is pending, ITS has the right to deny access to Law School equipment and network services to any person or persons believed to be violating the guidelines set forth here.
In addition to possible disciplinary action on the part of the Law School and/or termination of network privileges, misuse of electronic communications, use of computers for unlawful purposes, and violations of copyright laws carry civil and criminal penalties under Massachusetts and federal law. All users are expected to learn and abide by these laws. Harvard’s policy is to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the detection, investigation, and prosecution of unlawful activity; unless lawfully prohibited by the authorities, a student will be notified if information specific to his or her account or communications is turned over to non-Harvard authorities.
Before a student leaves the Law School, he or she must remove all software for which the license belongs to the Law School installed on his or her personally owned computer(s).
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