Information on UCM's Program to Combat Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Materials

The HEOA P2P provisions require universities to develop and implement "written plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the institution's network without unduly interfering with the educational and research use of the network." This document is UC Merced's plan to satisfy this HEOA requirement.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Technology-based Deterrents

A. Introduction

The University of California is committed to upholding U.S. copyright law. As an Internet Service Provider under the meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the University does not monitor its networks for the purpose of discovering illegal activity. However, the University pursues a set of ongoing initiatives to ensure that copyright, particularly as it applies to digital assets, is respected within the University community. These initiatives are described as follows in this implementation plan.

B. Technology-based Deterrents

University of California campuses have developed various network management strategies to balance the many and competing demands placed on network resources. Under provisions of the DMCA and as a matter of University policy, the University does not routinely search for illegal activity that may occur over its networks. UC Merced employs the following technology-based deterrents:
A. Bandwidth shaping
UC Merced uses bandwidth-shaping [or capping] technologies to enable network administrators to help reserve network access primarily for purposes in alignment with the University's mission. Such capacity management tends to have a deterrent effect on the illegal file-sharing of large files.
B. A vigorous program of accepting and responding to DMCA notices
UC Merced implements an active program for responding to copyright infringement notices. The institution follows systemwide guidelines for complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) http://www.ucop.edu/irc/policy/dmcaguide.html. In accordance with established procedures, UC Merced has a DMCA agent and designated DMCA e-mail account, which are on file with the US Copyright Office. When UC Merced receives DMCA notices of alleged copyright violation, it ensures that the offending material is expeditiously removed from the network and the individual involved is appropriately addressed, as per the specifics of the case. Repeat offenders are blocked from using the network for a period of time.

C. Community Education and Annual Disclosure to Students

UC Merced conducts an ongoing educational campaign to inform the UC community, and especially students, about UC Merceds' commitment to upholding copyright law, deterring copyright infringement, and following DMCA procedures. These educational activities include the following:

  1. Orientation. Illegal file sharing is addressed either during campus student orientation and/or during new employee orientation.
  2. Account authentication. Illegal file sharing is addressed as part of the authentication process when anyone affiliated with UC Merced is given access to e-mail accounts.
  3. Acceptable use policy. Acceptable use policies define what activities are allowed or prohibited on the networks. Users must agree to these policies to gain access to the network.
  4. Informational Web sites. Web sites advise students, campus staff, and the public about the University's policies in this area: http://it.ucmerced.edu/support/policies/illegal-file-sharing-notice.
  5. Annual Disclosure. All students will be sent an email on an annual basis.

D. Information about Legal File-Sharing Options at UC Merced:

UC Merceds' DMCA team is responsible for periodically reviewing and providing access to the UC community to legal options for obtaining electronic content, including movies and music. Currently, UC Merced refers the campus community to the list of legal alternatives maintained by EDUCAUSE, linking to the list from its informational Web site about copyright and illegal file sharing. UC Merced also offers: http://it.ucmerced.edu/user-services/students/legal-downloading.

E. Campus Procedures for Handling Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

UC Merced implements an active program for responding to copyright infringement notices. The institution follows systemwide guidelines for complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) http://www.ucop.edu/irc/policy/dmcaguide.html. In accordance with established procedures, UC Merced has a DMCA agent and designated DMCA e-mail account, which are on file with the US Copyright Office. When UC Merced receives DMCA notices of alleged copyright violation, it ensures that the offending material is expeditiously removed from the network and the individual involved is appropriately addressed, as per the specifics of the case.

  • First time resident students are notified via Housing staff in coordination with campus DMCA agent.
  • First time non-residents are notified via Student Judicial Affairs in coordination with campus DMCA agent.
  • Repeat offenders are blocked from using the network for a period of time.

F. Periodic Review of Plan and Assessment Criteria

Beginning September 2010, UC Merced will conduct an initial review of its plan for combating copyright infringement. Subsequent reviews will be conducted on an annual basis. No single criterion is used to determine whether or not the plan is effective; a range of factors are considered in the context of the changing, external environment. The assessment may include the following considerations:

  • Survey of user community - are the education materials effective,
  • Periodic review and update of educational materials (Web, print, etc.) for user friendliness / clarity / organization / pertinence / effectiveness,
  • Review of recidivism - whether there are few or many repeat offenders (in comparable circumstances), what the causes may be,
  • Review of other institutions' practices to determine if there are different approaches worth exploring and that are appropriate to the campus's environment and policies,
  • Review of the technological, social, and legal trends that may alter the number of complaints received.

Digital Copyright Information from UC Office of the President:
http://www.ucop.edu/irc/policy/copyright.html

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