DMCA Complaints Guide


What is a DMCA Complaint?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, or DMCA, was passed as an update to copyright law. It includes the legal framework for copyright holders to make claims of digital copyright infringement. A DMCA complaint occurs when the copyright owner (or authorized agent) notifies SF State that a copyright infringement was observed on the campus network. 

The DMCA, in conjunction with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), outlines the obligations SF State incurs when a complaint is received. For more information, please see:


How to Report a DMCA Complaint

Investigating a DMCA complaint requires identifying the device on which the activity occurred and the user of the device at the time of infringement. To enable this process, complaints should be reported by emailing the following information to

  • Time and time zone
  • IP address (Note: complaints received with a Campus Housing IP will be forwarded to Apogee)
  • Port (if applicable)
  • Details of the violation including identification of the copyrighted item

If needed, contact your local IT support for assistance gathering this information.


What Happens when a DMCA Complaint is Received

For all complaints, SF State IT Staff will:

  1. Use the IP number to determine if the device was connected to the campus wired or wireless network
  2. Enter the report into the DMCA log
  3. Verify the correct time zone and adjust if necessary
  4. Identify the user
  5. Notify the user

User Identification

Wired Network

  1. The campus area will be identified via IP address
  2. The jack and associated department will be confirmed
  3. User identification will be requested from the local IT staff and area manager. Responses are requested within 1 week. If a response is not received within 2 weeks, the jack will be disabled
  4. The DMCA log will be updated with the identity information

Wireless Network

  1. ITS will identify the user via the wireless logs
  2. The DMCA log will be updated with the identity information

User Notification

  1. The identified user will be notified and asked to cease activity. Responses are requested within 1 week
  2. If a response is not received within 2 weeks, Student Conduct (students) or Human Resources (faculty/staff) will be notified

If you receive a DMCA notification and believe you were incorrectly identified, a response is still required. ITS staff will work with you to determine:

  • If your device is infected with malware or other sharing software
  • You shared your credentials (e.g., logged someone else into the wireless network)
  • Your credentials have been compromised



  • Never use your credentials to provide another user access
  • Disable or un-install all peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing applications
  • Routinely scan your device for malicious software
  • Have anti-virus software installed
  • Understand the copyright fair-use policy before using or sharing copyrighted material