Message to Chancellors

July 24, 2003

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to convey our concern about the illegal sharing of copyrighted digital files, including music, movies, books, and software, over the University's network. The University has experienced a marked increase in notices from copyright owners that materials on the University's network infringe upon their copyrights. These notices are transmitted electronically in the format prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). We believe that it is important for University leadership to communicate to all students, faculty, and staff their responsibility to uphold copyright law.

The issues of illegal file sharing and copyright infringement are of growing concern nationwide. Both Congress and the recording industry have intensified pressure, particularly on universities, to halt illegal file sharing. Congress has held hearings devoted to illegal file sharing on college campuses and has discussed the possibility of further legislative action; a national task force has been formed between the higher education and entertainment industry communities to explore solutions to illegal file sharing; and the recording industry is accelerating the distribution of copyright infringement notices to universities, issuing subpoenas and suing students who violate copyright law.

The DMCA provides the University with a safe harbor from liability if, upon receipt of a notice of copyright infringement, we respond expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material in question. Our campuses have put in place procedures to ensure that the University takes such action each time we receive a complaint. We ask that campus Chief Information Officers and designated DMCA agents review the DMCA procedures used on their campuses and verify that campus practices comply with the law.

The University has a responsibility to make sure all members of the campus community are aware of copyright laws and related sanctions, and to inform them of the consequences of engaging in illegal activities while accessing a University-provided Internet connection. We also believe that educating students, faculty, and staff will serve as a proactive measure to minimize the number of complaints that we receive.

We strongly encourage you to send a message to all members of your campus community detailing the risks associated with downloading copyrighted materials, including potential disciplinary action by the University, criminal prosecution, and civil litigation by copyright holders. As an example, attached is a copy of such a letter issued recently to the UCLA community by several senior administrators at UCLA. The memo was commended by Representative Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property, who encouraged the University to institute similar activities on all campuses to educate our constituencies about the issue of illegal file sharing.

We appreciate your assistance in fostering this communication on your campus. Should you have any questions, please contact Yvonne Tevis, Executive Assistant in Information Resources and Communications at (510) 987-0638, or Annik Hirshen, Policy and Legislative Coordinator in Student Academic Services at (510) 987-9210.


C. Judson King
Provost and Senior Vice President —
Academic Affairs
Joseph P. Mullinix
Senior Vice President —
Business and Finance