Stop It Notices

A copyright holder may be represented by an industry organization, such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) or the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), among others. These organizations use automated systems and searches to locate instances of copyright infringement. When an IP address in the range that belongs to George Mason University is identified during one of these searches, a “cease and desist” notice* may be sent to the University via the Copyright Resources Office (CRO). Subsequently, staff in the Information Technology Unit attempt to identify the Mason network user based on the information in the infringement notice, which includes date, time, IP address, and port number. If a Mason network user can be identified, a Stop It notice is sent to that person.

The purpose of this process is to curtail or eliminate illegal downloading and uploading of media via the Mason network, using peer-to-peer file sharing software. Individuals are responsible for their network accounts (see the Responsible Use of Computing policy), regardless of who might have used their account for unlawful purposes. Because the University is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the Mason community, it is held to strict copyright compliance standards defined in 17 U.S.C., the Higher Education Opportunity Act, and other mandates. The CRO uses the Stop It process to educate rather than discipline or fine potential violators.

The University does not actively search for instances of copyright infringement or monitor a specific individual’s network activity.

What Happens Now?

Stop It #1 Notice

  1. The student is made aware that illegal infringing activity may have taken place via his/her Mason account.
  2. The student is required to remove the stated infringing material and any peer-to-peer file sharing software from his/her computer.

Stop It #2 Notice

  1. The student is made aware that this is the second instance of illegal infringing activity on his/her Mason account. Receipt of a second notice generally indicates a pattern of downloading rather than a single, fluky event.
  2. The student is required to remove the stated infringing material and any peer-to-peer file sharing software from his/her computer.
  3. The student must meet with the Head of the Copyright Resources Office, within a prescribed time, to discuss alternative, legal sources of in-copyright content
  4. The student must write, sign and date a letter, retained by the Copyright Resources Office, stating that the infringing material and peer-to-peer file sharing software has been removed from his/her computer.
  5. If the student does not meet with the Head of the Copyright Office, s/he will be partitioned from the Mason network until such time the Stop It #2 requirements are fulfilled.

Additional Infringements

Any further infringing activity associated with a student’s account will result in immediate partition from the Mason network and referral to the Office of Student Conduct.

* This letter is also referred to as a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice.