DMCA and Courtesy Notification Procedures


This document contains Georgetown University’s operational procedures for handling alleged copyright violations received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), notices of a forthcoming subpoena (“courtesy notices”) that are received by the University’s DMCA Agent, and subpoenas related to copyright. It is inappropriate and illegal for those connected to the Georgetown University network to download, upload and/or distribute copyrighted material without express authorization from the copyright holder, or unless it is covered by fair use or another provision of the Copyright Act.


These procedures apply to anyone connected to Georgetown University’s networks, including all faculty, students, employees, and guests. They extend also to fellows, visiting scholars, affiliates, Georgetown University Hospital employees, et al., when they are utilizing Georgetown’s network and technology resources.

Guiding Principles/Purpose

Consistent with the Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy, University resources may not be used to violate University policy or the law.


Employees: The term “employees” in this document refers to faculty, staff and Academic and Administrative Professionals (AAPs).

DMCA Agent: A University employee, registered with the Library of Congress Copyright Office, who serves as the point of contact for GU for those who believe someone at GU has violated the Copyright Act. 

DMCA Complaint: Complaint issued by or on behalf of a copyright holder. 

Courtesy Notices: Notice sent to the University that a subpoena is forthcoming.

University Offices with Responsibilities: The following University parties are involved in handling DMCA complaints or courtesy notices under these procedures:

  1. Office of University Information Services
    1. Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO)
    2. University Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
    3. DMCA Agent
  2. Office of General Counsel
    1. Senior Associate University Counsel
  3. Appropriate Administrative Office
    1. Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Office of Student Affairs
      1. Director, Office of Student Conduct
      2. Assistant Director, Office of Student Conduct.
    2. b. Medical Students: Office of the Dean
      1. Associate Dean for Knowledge Management
    3. c. Law Students
      1. Law Center CIO
    4. d. Employees
      1. Cognizant supervisor/department head/department chair
      2. Cognizant Vice President
      3. Vice President for Human Resources/Cognizant Academic Officer for the Campus

Administration and Implementation

All notifications of potential copyright violations will be treated as potential violations of GU’s Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy.

Section 1: Process for handling DMCA complaints 
DMCA complaints must be directed to the University’s DMCA Agent, who is registered with the United States Copyright Office. Complaints must be well formed according to the requirements of the DMCA. The University does not respond to complaints that do not meet these requirements.

For each well-formed complaint that is received:

  1. The DMCA Agent will file the complaint
  2. The filed complaint is then forwarded to the UIS Security Operations team (CIRT)
  3. CIRT will use the information provided by the complainant to attempt to identify the user who is the subject of the complaint.
  4. The complaint may be marked ‘unresolved’ if the subject of the complaint cannot be identified through reasonable and available investigative measures by CIRT
  5. Once (and if) the user is identified, the appropriate GU responsible party is notified by the UIS Office of Governance Risk Mgt and Compliance (GRC) in accordance with the established procedures based on that user’s affilliation with the University
  6. The DMCA Agent or administrator handling the incident records the outcome of each complaint for future reference. The University does not notify complainants of the outcome of each complaint.

Section 2: Process for handling “courtesy notices” of a pending subpoena or proposed settlement letters

  1. The DMCA Agent will file the courtesy notice or proposed settlement letter
  2. The DMCA Agent will notify the Office of General Counsel, the University Vice President and CIO, and the University CISO
  3. Actions subsequent to that notification are at the direction of those notified parties

Section 3: Process for handling subpoenas
Consistent with University procedures, all service of subpoenas should be to the Office of General Counsel


To protect the University and in recognition of any protected materials, all University employees designated with responsibilities under these procedures have a responsibility to act in a timely manner and in accordance with the established and approved procedures.


Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy

Copyright in the Information Age

Georgetown University Human Resources Manual; including but not limited to:

Policy Number 302, “Disciplinary Actions and Dismissals”

Policy Number 401, “Professional Conduct”

Policy Number 403, “Confidential Information”

University Information Security Policy and Security Resources

Review Cycle

At least annually