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Computer and Network Use

Updated 7/22/2014

FIT, through its Information Technology (IT) office, provides computing equipment, networks, and information resources to support the instructional, research, and administrative functions of the college, as well as to enhance the lifestyle of resident students. The following policies are intended to guide members of the college community in the acceptable use of these networks and resources. These policies supplement existing FIT policies and agreements as well as state and federal laws and regulations. In addition, these policies incorporate the ethical principle of respect for other individuals that is central to FIT's mission and identity.

All members of the FIT community who utilize the college’s computing resources are held responsible for being aware of and abiding by the usage policies listed here. Since rapid change is inherent to computing and information networks, FIT reserves the right to modify these policies at any time. While users will be apprised of any changes, it is the user’s personal responsibility to remain informed of the current regulations.

Prohibited Uses

Computing resources may be used only for purposes that are legal, ethical, and consistent with the college’s mission. The following activities are examples of prohibited behaviors with respect to the electronic environment:

  • [Lab Users and Admin - see description at end of section] altering system software or hardware configurations, or disrupting or interfering with the delivery or administration of computer resources;
  • [Home Users and Faculty - see description at end of section] altering system software or hardware configurations, if it disrupts or interferes with the delivery or administration of computer resources;
  • [All Users] attempting to access or accessing the college’s or another user’s account, private files, or email without the owner’s permission;
  • [All Users] attempting illegal or unauthorized access of or accessing systems outside of the college without authorization (i.e. hacking);
  • [All Users] Using computing and/or electronic mail resources for activities which violate local, state, or federal law, or for commercial or personal profit-making purposes or for solicitation;
  • [All Users] misrepresenting one’s identity in electronic communication for purposes of fraud or fraudulent acts;
  • [All Users] infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others in computer programs or electronic information, including plagiarism and unauthorized use or reproduction in violation of patents, trademarks and copyrights, and/or software and other licensing agreements;
  • [All Users] Downloading or sharing of copyrighted materials, such as music or videos without express permission of the copyright owner
  • [All Users] circumventing or attempting to circumvent software or hardware security systems;
  • [Lab Users and Admin] installing personal software (including games) on any computing equipment without obtaining authorization in advance;
  • [Home Users and Faculty] installing personal software (including games) on any computing equipment without proper licensing or proof of ownership;
  • [All Users] using computing resources to engage in conduct which intentionally interferes with others’ use of shared computing resources. This includes consuming gratuitously large amounts of system resources (e.g., disk space, CPU time, print quotas) and exceeding time limits that have been established in college facilities such as computer labs and libraries;
  • [All Users] using computing and/or electronic mail resources for commercial or personal profit-making purposes or for solicitation or for activities which violate local, state, or federal law;
  • [All Users] allowing or assisting unauthorized users to gain access to computing resources;
  • [All Users] intercepting or monitoring, or attempting to intercept or monitor, network communications or other communications not intended for the user’s access without prior authorization;
  • [All Users] creating programs that secretly collect information about users;
  • [All Users] using computing resources, including email, to send nuisance messages such as chain letters; junk mail; and profane, obscene, threatening, libelous, or harassing messages;
  • [All Users] intentionally distributing malicious software, such as computer worms, viruses, or Trojan horses.

Please note that the guidelines stated above are not meant to be exhaustive. FIT is the conclusive authority on questions relating to acceptable uses of the network. If a question about use arises, the use should be considered prohibited until FIT directs otherwise.

Home Users:  Students residing in FIT residence halls
Faculty:  Any full- or part-time faculty member of FIT
Admin:   Full- or part-time FIT administrator or staff member
Lab Users:  All users of computer equipment in campus labs and/or classrooms

Indemnification

Each user is responsible for his or her own activities when using the college’s computing resources, and will indemnify and hold harmless the college from any liability to the user or any third party arising out of the use of the computing resources by the user, or any loss of information existing or stored on the college’s computing equipment or resources, including all files and electronic mail.

Personal Web Pages

Personal web pages may not include any advertising, nor may they be used in support of any commercial or business activities. The content of personal web pages and their compliance with this policy is the sole responsibility of the author.

Faculty and student web pages may be linked to official college pages only with the approval of the Vice President for Communications and External Relations.

The college reserves the right to restrict the content of or remove web pages for violation of these or any college policies, including for causing excessive traffic to the college's web servers.

Using FIT’s logos or insignias without written permission from the appropriate college authority is prohibited.

Displaying, posting, printing, or sending material that is contrary to the mission or values of the college, including obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, or offensive material is strictly prohibited on all official web pages. The information distributed through FIT’s computing and networking facilities is a form of publishing and is subject to the same standards as other types of publications.

No personal web or FTP servers will be run through the FIT network without prior written authorization.

Fair Use of Copyrighted Material

Creation of web pages for educational and research purposes may involve incorporation of original works of third parties (e.g., printed materials, video and sound recordings, multimedia presentations, software) that are covered by copyright laws. Copyright owners are granted five exclusive rights by the copyright law: reproduction, adaptation, publication, performance, and display.

These exclusive rights, however, are subject to the “Fair Use” Doctrine. “Fair Use” is the privilege of persons other than the copyright owner to use the copyrighted material in a reasonable manner without the copyright owner’s consent, notwithstanding the monopoly granted to the owner by the copyright.

A finding of fair use is not easily determined, however, there are four non-exclusive statutory factors to be considered in determining whether a use is fair. They are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is for commercial purposes or for non-profit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the work, including whether the work is creative or informational and published or unpublished;
  3. the amount used in relation to the work as a whole, considering both quantitative and qualitative substantiality. No quantification of use limits exists by statute;
  4. the effect of the use on the potential market for or the value of the work. (The greater the effect on market or value, the less the likelihood that the use will be fair.) Developers of web pages are especially cautioned to recognize that access to their pages by individuals from outside the college community may impact one or more of the above factors.

Consistent with principles of fair use, web page authors are responsible for obtaining all permissions that may be necessary to incorporate works of third parties in their web pages.

FIT rules governing attribution require that all users of college computing networks acknowledge any usage of ideas or materials produced by others by identifying the source and nature/extent of indebtedness.

Digital Downloading

POLICY

Copyright protections are created when words are put on paper, words are transmitted via email, music is recorded, computer software is written, or images are created. Once done, the work is protected by copyright. If someone else wants to use the work, they must get permission from the creator. If they use the material without the creator’s permission, it may be copyright infringement.

Copyrighted material includes almost all forms of original expression fixed in a tangible medium even if no formal copyright notice is filed or attached. However, you cannot copyright any idea, process, and system, method of operation, concept, or principle, regardless of the form in which it is described.

Copyright infringement is any reproduction (download), display, distribution (upload), creation of derivative works, or public performance of copyrighted material without permission of the copyright owner or unless there is an applicable statutory exception or limitation. The downloading of music, video, or other digital materials, without the permission of the copyright owner is prohibited.

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), FIT policy also forbids the copying, distribution, downloading, and uploading of copyrighted materials on any personal or college computer system. These materials include, but are not limited to, text (including emails and web information), graphics, art, photographs, music, film, and software.

SANCTIONS

Violations of this policy will be adjudicated by the Dean of Students, the IT Office, Human Resources, or other appropriate campus administrative process. Violations of local, state, and federal law will be referred to the appropriate authorities. Violation of these regulations may result in judicial sanctions as prescribed by the Code of Student’s Rights, Responsibility, and Conduct such as:

  • loss of access privileges;
  • monetary reimbursement to the college or other appropriate sources;
  • reassignment or removal from campus housing and/or the college; and
  • prosecution under applicable civil or criminal laws.

Students who have been found judicially responsible for illegal file sharing or illegal downloading of material can additionally be subject to federal prosecution that could result in incarceration, monetary penalties, or both.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Unless otherwise specified, access to computing resources at FIT will be through a control mechanism that provides for identification of authorized users. In addition, this mechanism will specify the locations in which authorized users can store or access data files. Users are expected to access only those resources that have been explicitly made available to them through this control mechanism. Users of computing resources are fully responsible for the protection of their user accounts, including system ID codes and passwords. Users must not share computer accounts, passwords, or other types of authorization.

Users are afforded exclusive use of all data files, information files, and messages stored in their accounts and may expect that their data files and email will remain private. This, however, does not imply that users are necessarily the owners of these data.

The college has taken the necessary measures to ensure the integrity of its computing resources, including prevention of damage to data and equipment. IT for FIT, as the entity that operates and manages computing resources at the college, has instituted internal mechanisms and controls to safeguard the privacy of data stored in our systems. These mechanisms require that specific privileges be given to personnel responsible for the maintenance of computer systems. These rights are afforded to ensure proper operation of the systems and will not be used as a method for accessing private information, except as necessary for maintenance of the systems or for investigation of policy violations, or as directed by appropriate legal authorities.

SANCTIONS

Violations of this policy constitute unacceptable use of computer resources. These violations may result in a loss of computing privileges and may subject users to FIT’s regular disciplinary processes, including suspension or expulsion from the college. In instances where alleged violations of this policy could result in harm to or otherwise compromise the college’s computing resources, the college reserves the right to temporarily suspend computing privileges pending an investigation of the validity of the charges by the Dean of Students.

The most serious violations of the Computer and Network Policy which might result in suspension or dismissal will follow the Judicial Council Procedures in this publication. Resident students who violate the policy will have a conduct hearing (Refer to Resident Handbook, Conduct and Judicial System.)

In addition, illegal acts involving FIT computing resources may also subject violators to prosecution by local, state and/or federal authorities. Suspected or known violations should be reported to the dean of students; such violations will be processed in accordance with these procedures and/or law enforcement agencies.

Disclaimer

As part of the services available through the FIT campus network, the college provides access to a large number of conferences, lists, bulletin boards, and internet information services, these materials are not affiliated with, endorsed by, or reviewed by FIT. Therefore, the college takes no responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the content found within these information sources. Some of these sources may contain material that is offensive or objectionable to some users or would violate this policy if published by an authorized user. The college cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them. Furthermore, those members of the FIT community who use email or make information about themselves available on the internet must recognize that FIT cannot protect them from invasions of privacy and other possible dangers that could result from an individual user’s distribution of personal information.

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