U N I V E R S I T Y O F C A L I F O R N I A
BERKELEY • DAVIS • IRVINE • LOS ANGELES • MERCED • RIVERSIDE • SAN DIEGO • SAN FRANCISCO
SANTA BARBARA • SANTA CRUZ
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT—
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
1111 Franklin Street
Oakland, California 94607-5200
December 1, 1999
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law in October 1998. The DMCA is a complex piece of legislation intended to clarify the applicability of copyright law to the digital environment. It affirms the Copyright Act's balance between the grant of exclusive rights to copyright owners and exceptions to those rights for the public benefit. In particular, the DMCA contains provisions that under certain circumstances limit the liability of online service providers for copyright violations of their users when the provider is unaware of such violations.
The enclosed Guidelines for Compliance with the Online Service Provider Provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, prepared by the Office of General Counsel, summarize the provisions under which the University may limit its liability for copyright infringement that occurs on its systems and networks. Although copyright issues are most likely to attract attention in the Web environment, they may also arise in email and other applications. The limitations on liability are especially pertinent to the actions of students.
To take advantage of the DMCA's protection from liability, each campus and Laboratory must designate an agent to receive and handle notices of infringement and register the agent with the United States Copyright Office. The agent's responsibilities are explained in the attached Guidelines.
The University will need to determine on a case-by-case basis whether to take advantage of the new protections offered by the DMCA or whether to rely on defenses that already exist, such as the fair use doctrine. The DMCA protections may not apply in some situations, or you may decide not to invoke them.
Campus-designated agents will be called on to make sensitive decisions that, if not exercised with care and good judgment, could impinge on academic freedom. It is essential that agents be appropriately positioned to determine whether to seek academic policy or legal advice as needed before taking administrative action. Agents should have ready access to information systems administrators, counsel, and representatives of the academic administration and the Academic Senate.
By January 17, please advise me whom you have designated as your campus or Laboratory agent and the Web address where your agent's contact information is posted. Questions and comments on the Guidelines should be addressed to Counsel Mary MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Martha Winnacker (email@example.com or 510-987-0409) in the Office of the Associate Vice President, Information Resources and Communications.
Thank you for your assistance.
V. Wayne Kennedy
Senior Vice President