Last Revised: January 10, 2019

Refer Questions to: Executive Director, Gallaudet Technology Services


What activities are prohibited?

In general, five types of activities are prohibited:

  • Activities that compromise or threaten the functioning of the University’s network, database systems, telecommunication systems, or security measures.
  • Activities that constitute misuse or inappropriate use of Gallaudet University technology resources.
  • Activities that constitute illegal activity on Gallaudet University technology resources.
  • Activities that conflict with University policies and procedures or local, state, federal, or international law.
  • Sharing or giving your password to other users.

Activities that Compromise or Threatens the Functioning of the University’s Network, Learning Systems, Data Base Systems, Telecommunications Systems, or Security Measures.

Certain activities, unintentional or intentional, well-meaning or malicious, can compromise or threaten the University’s technology resources and thus are prohibited. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Mass mailings, whether within or outside the University, especially those that, because of sheer volume or because they “harvest” addresses, consume large amounts of our technology resources.
  • Unauthorized applications that consume huge amounts of computer resources and internet bandwidth, such as file-sharing programs for downloading music.
  • Denial-of-service attacks.
  • Attempts to disguise network connections or University-connected network devices so they cannot be recognized.
  • Attempts to circumvent or bypass University firewalls.
  • Interference with University monitoring processes.
  • Any activities that disables, or attempts to disable, either the University networks or network access.
  • Any attempt to access restricted databases, such as student grades or transcripts, financial records, etc., or to change information contained in these databases.
  • Any other activities commonly referred to as ‘hacking’.

Misuse or Inappropriate Use

E-mail messages, web sites, etc., may not contain offensive language or pictures. E-mail messages can be personal in nature, but they should be courteous in language and tone. Remember that e-mail messages can be, and often are, forwarded instantly to others. Your “dirty joke” can be forwarded to hundreds of people in an instant, and then forwarded to even more people. If even one person is offended, they can complain to Gallaudet University—and then Gallaudet Technology Services would have to investigate. If we find that you sent an e-mail message containing offensive language or pictures, we might have to take action.

This applies whether you originate offensive materials, or forward offensive material that you receive from others. This also applies to e-mail attachments, such as pictures and graphics, and personal web sites. The latest “underground” cartoon may be humorous to you, but offensive to others. Gallaudet Technology Services will be especially vigilant about e-mail messages, web sites, etc which contains language or pictures that violate any University policy, such as:

  • Standards of Conduct,
  • Protection Against Sexual Harassment,
  • Conflict of Interest, or
  • Dissemination of Confidential Information.

Some examples of prohibited electronic communication include:

  • Threats against any individual, group, organization, or physical structure
  • Hearing status slurs
  • Ethnic slurs
  • Racial slurs
  • Religious slurs
  • Sexual orientation slurs
  • Statements that embarrass or humiliate any individual, group, or organization


Harassment of any individual or group through e-mail, web sites, or any other online means is prohibited. Harassment takes many forms. In general, it creates an uncomfortable or hostile environment for the individual or group who is being harassed. If you send an e-mail message to another person and make unwanted sexual advances, or if you send unwanted Instant Messenger messages, or if you send many messages to another person, you are harassing that person.

Use of Technology Resources for Personal Gain

You may not use Gallaudet University technology resources for personal gain—e.g., to make money. In particular, you may not operate a business online. Simple, one-time transactions, such as want ads or auction purchases, are acceptable. Ongoing purchase, sale, and trade transactions are not. Selling products and services online is not permitted. For example, if you offer tutoring, or operate a catering service, or computer installation and repair services, you may advertise them from your own personal e-mail account or web site, but not on your Gallaudet University e-mail account or web site.

Political Movements or Campaigns

You may not use Gallaudet University technology resources for political movements or campaigns. If you are involved with a political cause, such as the right to life movement, an anti-war protest, protection of endangered species, you cannot use your Gallaudet University e-mail account to send messages on behalf of that cause. If you are involved with a political party, you may not use your Gallaudet University e-mail account to send messages to your co-workers, encouraging them to vote for a particular candidate or party. If you are a candidate for government, civic, or public office, you cannot use your Gallaudet University e-mail account to send messages for your campaign.

Fund-Raising for Non-Gallaudet Related Activities

You may not use Gallaudet University computer resources to raise money for non-Gallaudet related activities. Many members of the Gallaudet University community raise money for a variety of good causes. Some people sell Girl Scout cookies on behalf of their daughters. Others raise money to participate in an athletic event, such as the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day walk, or the National AIDS Marathon Training Program. Deaf athletes raise money to participate in international competitions, such as the Deaflympics. Still other people raise money for their favorite organizations and causes. These activities are commendable, but you may not solicit funds on the Gallaudet University computer system. You should use an outside Internet service provider.

Identity Misrepresentation and Illegal Activity

An illegal activity is one that might expose you or the University to civil or criminal legal action, or that might endanger the University’s federal appropriation or its tax-exempt status. Some examples of illegal activity include:

Copyright and Trademark Infringement

Unauthorized copying of software, graphic illustrations and images, music, games, or videos, or other copyrighted or trademarked materials are prohibited.

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ’s at

Some examples of illegal copyright violations include:

Software. It is illegal to copy most commercial software. If your roommate has Microsoft Office 2010 on his computer, you cannot borrow their CD and install the program on your computer. Similarly, if your office mate pays for and downloads a copyrighted software program, he or she cannot give you a copy of it to install on your computer. Some software is “freeware” or “shareware,” and may be copied freely. You should read the software license (sometimes called an End User License Agreement, or EULA) and agree to its terms before distributing copies to other people. You may not make copies of copyrighted compact discs (CDs) or digital video discs (DVDs).

Graphic Illustrations and Images. There are literally millions of graphic illustrations and images in software programs and on the Internet. Many of these are in the public domain and may be copied freely, for example, to insert in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Others are copyrighted or trademarked, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the copyright holder or trademark owner. It is your responsibility to differentiate between public domain and copyrighted or trademarked graphic illustrations and images.

Music, Games or Videos. It is illegal under federal law to download copies of copyrighted music, games, or videos, using any copying scheme or media format. The applicable law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The user and the Internet service provider—in this case Gallaudet University—are held criminally liable for violations of this law. Each criminal offense carries with it a minimum fine of $30,000 and a potential jail sentence.

Video includes commercial videotapes or DVDs, web broadcasts, streaming video, and any other video-based material that is copyrighted. The only exception to this is when you have contacted and received express permission from the copyright holder. This is usually granted only for short segments, and only under “fair use” guidelines.

Games include commercial games, whether software or Internet-based, and include games that are meant to be played individually, by two or more players, or by many players at remote locations.

Music includes any and all copyrighted songs, with lyrics (words) or without. Downloading even one song exposes you and Gallaudet University to criminal liability.

File-Sharing Systems. Examples of this are the now-defunct Napster, and the currently-available BitTorrent and KaZaa programs. These programs, besides being of questionable legality, consume huge amounts of computer resources and Internet bandwidth. Gallaudet Technology Services has taken action in the past where file-sharing program users caused system-wide slowdowns.

The consequences to you and Gallaudet University of copying copyrighted video, games, and music are potentially very severe. If in doubt, do not copy this material.

Other Copyrighted or Trademarked Material. It is illegal to copy any copyrighted or trademarked material, including any material that does not fit into the categories specified above. Some of this material exists now, some may be future products.


Online pornography is prohibited at Gallaudet University. The applicable federal law is the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. The United States Supreme Court partly upheld this law in May 2002, and asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to review portions of it for their free speech implications. However, Gallaudet University and Gallaudet Technology Services do not condone pornography. Some Gallaudet University students are underage. Also, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center Demonstration Schools enroll students from infancy to age 22. The vast majority of Clerc Center students are under age 18. Clerc Center students have access to Gallaudet University technology resources. Web filtering systems are in place at the Clerc Center to help protect minors from inappropriate content.


Fraudulent e-mail messages, web sites, and other fraudulent online materials are prohibited, If you engage in fraudulent behavior, you may be subject to Gallaudet Technology Services action. You may also be subject to civil or criminal penalties under District of Columbia, state, or federal law.

Fraud is deliberate deception. If you send an e-mail message promising products or services to the first 100 people who respond, and then do not deliver what you promised, you are engaging in fraudulent behavior. If you engage in a multi-level marketing scheme (commonly known as a “pyramid scheme”), again you are engaging in fraudulent behavior. If you send out information that you know is not true, you may be engaging in fraudulent behavior.

Activities that Conflict with University Policies or Local, State, Federal, or International Law

Gallaudet University technology resources may not be used for any purpose that conflicts with University policies or local, state, federal, or international law. University policies include both Board of Trustees policies and policies promulgated by the University and Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center administration. These are found in the Administration and Operations Manual. Academic policies appear in the university undergraduate and graduate catalogs as well.

Local law includes the laws of the District of Columbia, the 50 states, the United States possessions and territories, and anywhere else from which a person might access the Gallaudet University network. An employee at home in Maryland, a student at home during summer vacation in California, or a faculty member traveling abroad, who conducts illegal activity over the Gallaudet University network may be subject to civil or criminal liability.

Impersonating or Using Accounts Other Than Your Own

You can use Gallaudet University technology resources using your personal Gallaudet University account. It is prohibited to use accounts that belong to other individuals such as your friend, spouse, etc.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Administration

Contact Us

Technology Services

Merrill Learning Center 1120

(202) 250-2507

(202) 651-5494

(202) 651-5213

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