File Sharing and Copyright Infringement -- An October 1, 2003 Communication
to the UCR Campus Community
To the Members of the Riverside Campus Community:
We are alerting the campus community -- students, faculty,
and staff -- to the personal risks involved with illegal file sharing. It
is important that you understand these risks not only because of the possibility
of campus disciplinary action, but also to protect against criminal prosecution
and the initiation of civil litigation by copyright holders. We would like
you to be very aware that initiation of legal actions by copyright holders
is becoming more of a reality every day.
Although trading of copyrighted music, movies, games and
software over the Internet has become commonplace using file-sharing programs
such as KaZaa or Morpheus, it is not legal to do so. Most material is copyrighted,
and obtaining or offering such material in violation of the U.S. copyright
law may be punishable with civil and criminal penalties, including prison
time and monetary damages. When copyright holders resort to legal actions,
there is little the University will be able to do to protect copyright infringers.
Some believe that "recreational file-sharing" is
unlikely to be noticed. This is not the case. The reality is that copyright
holders are significantly intensifying enforcement using automated scanning
software to identify infringements, no matter how small. The Recording Industry
of America, on April 4, 2003, filed suit against four students at three universities
for copyright infringement. Settlements ranged from $12,000 to $17,000.
In compliance with the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (DMCA) and the University of California Guidelines for Compliance with
the Online Service Provider Provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act, UCR expeditiously takes action when notified of potential DMCA violations
from sites located on the campus network. All of these incidents are referred
to various campus officials and appropriate actions are taken to stop unauthorized
downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials. In some cases, the university
may also take disciplinary actions. The UC Guidelines for Compliance are available
for online review at http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/coordrev/policy/12-01-99.html.
Of course, there are legitimate applications of file-sharing
software, and discussion as well as research on such peer-to-peer software
is expanding rapidly in the academic community. We will ensure that such inquiry,
as well as the legal use of peer-to-peer software, remains unimpeded at UCR.
Thank you for your consideration of this very important topic.
If you have any questions about these issues or seek additional information,
please visit UCR's DMCA web site at http://dmca.ucr.eduor
contact Charles J. Rowley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Computing & Communications
William A. Jury, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost &
Charles J. Rowley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Computing & Communications