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The 1998 enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) represent significant changes in copyright law. They are an attempt to update U.S. copyright law for the digital age and to bring it closer in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. In response to these changes the University has updated its policy toward copyright. Here are some of the highlights from the University’s current policy.

  • Under the new legislation, the University, as are other educational institutions, is afforded a “safe harbor” status from liability and any duty to monitor the content of electronic communications for possible copyright violations. Also, the existing interpretations of “fair use” of copyright remain largely intact;
  • Under the University’s Electronic Communication Policy, the University does not, at present, monitor content of electronic communications or search for copyright violations.
  • However, under DMCA & HEOA, the University is required to expeditiously respond to a formal theft of copyright notification from a copyright holder. By law, the University is not required to establish the validity of the claim and by policy does not. The mandated responses to a theft of copyright notification are: 1) removal of the offending material; and/or 2) termination of network access until the offending material is removed. In cases that involve issues of fair use the matter will be referred to University counsel for further guidance.
  • Also, under the University’s interpretation of DMCA, repeat offenders (those who receive two or more complaints) are potentially subject to permanent termination of network access and judicial review by the University. They are also potentially subject to legal action by the copyright holder regardless of any actions that the University may take.

Under University and UCDC policy if UCDC receives a notification from a copyright holder of a theft of copyright we are required to terminate network access to the networked device that downloaded the offending file until its owner provides UCDC with written verification that the offending file has been deleted.

Here are some guiding principles that we offer all of our users.

  • Threat of copyright is a crime!
  • Theft of copyright is stealing another's ability to profit from their work.
  • Plagiarism, which is often harnessed in tandem with theft of copyright, is theft of another's work to claim as your own.
  • If you haven't paid for it, don't download media (pictures, music, videos, software, etc.) that are labeled with a copyright notice.
  • If it doesn't have a copyright notification, still assume that it is copyrighted unless it specifically says that it is public domain or that the copyright has been waived.
  • If you think that you may have copyrighted materials on your networked device that were unlawfully attained, removed them.
  • If you engage in using copyrighted materials for teaching or research, refer to the University's Policy on Use of Copyrighted Materials in Teaching & Research http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/uwnews/copyrep.html.

For further information about Copyright and the University's response to recent legislation, please refer to the following references.

UC Electronic Communications Policy: http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/ec/
UC Policy on Copyrighted Materials: http://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/index.html