Thursday, April 24, 2014  Campus: Directory · Map · Calendar
  UCLA Home / Administration / Policies & Delegations / Administrative Policies & Procedures

UCLA Administrative Policies & Procedures

  Home  |  Changes to APPs  |  Sort APPs  |  Index  |  Search

UCLA Policy  464: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation

ISSUING OFFICER:  Executive Vice Chancellor


RESPONSIBLE OFFICE:  Office of Information Technology  - Look Up Contact Person


EFFECTIVE DATE:  August 1, 2000






  1. UC Guidelines for Compliance with the Online Service Provider Provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, dated December 1, 1999;
  2. Sr. Vice President Kennedy’s letter to Chancellors, dated December 1, 1999;
  3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, October 8, 1998, amendment to title 17, United States Code;
  4. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Web Page at UCLA (includes links to the DMCA and the DMCA Designated Agent Form); 

  5. University of California Policy and Guidelines on the Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials for Teaching and Research, April 1986.


The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, also known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), is a complex set of legislation that amends federal copyright law to reflect the digital environment. Online Copyright Infringement Claims (Claims) made against faculty, students or staff at UCLA can result in the campus itself being liable for infringement and thus subject to significant monetary penalties. The DMCA contains provisions under which the University may, under certain circumstances and at its own discretion, limit its liability for copyright infringement that occurs on its systems and networks.
The DMCA does not alter the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act, nor does it require Online Service Providers to adhere to its procedures if the campus does not wish to seek Liability Shelter. Any defense which would otherwise be available to a provider remains available. Accordingly, University guidelines on the appropriate use of copyrighted material for teaching and research remain applicable


This policy/procedure is intended for department heads and managers who may need to consider taking steps to reduce University and ultimately departmental financial liability that may result from alleged acts of online copyright infringement by students, faculty or staff of the department. 
This policy/procedure describes the requirements that must be met in order to qualify for Liability Shelter and identifies the Campus Officials responsible for responding to a Claim and for initiating necessary corrective action, if required.


: is the intangible right granted to the author or creator of an original literary or artistic work fixed in a tangible form of expression whereby the author or creator is invested, for a limited period, with the sole and exclusive privilege of reproducing, publishing and/or selling copies of that work.

Designated Agent
: in accordance with DMCA requirements, the person identified by the campus to receive and process notification of claimed copyright infringement. UCLA has registered the campus Director, IT Policy as its Designated Agent with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Liability Shelter
: refers to the provision of the DMCA which limits the financial liability of qualifying Online Service Providers for copyright violations of their users.

Online Copyright Infringement Claim (Claim)
: written or electronic mail communication of a copyright holder identifying a copyrighted work and specific online material alleged to be infringing such copyrighted work. The Claim must include a statement that the information contained in the Claim is accurate and that the copyright holder has a good faith belief that use of the material is unauthorized.

Online Service Provider
: for the purpose of this policy, the individual campus units or departments that provide online access services to the UCLA community including, but not limited to, schools, divisions, departments, libraries, and labs.


The University encourages the free flow of ideas and the provision of resources in support of academic pursuits. However, the University does not condone the illegal or inappropriate use of material subject to copyright protections that happens to be available through online systems and services that the University makes available to its users. UCLA faculty, staff, and students need to be mindful of the copyright protections afforded to online materials and that violations of these protections may result in significant penalties.

In the event that a Claim is received alleging copyright infringement on the part of a UCLA faculty member, staff member or student, Campus Officials, as designated herein, shall respond to evaluate the basis for the allegation and will take action, as warranted, to end the infringement in accordance with existing UC policies. If copyright infringement allegations are upheld and result in financial liability to the University, that liability shall be assigned to the department or unit of the infringer.
Such Claims are required to be sent to the Designated Agent for the campus. The Designated Agent will respond in accordance with the requirements of the DMCA Liability Shelter provisions.

A. General Provisions

UCLA meets the DMCA general eligibility requirements for Liability Shelter as a qualified provider of online services, including accommodating and not interfering with standard technical measures used to identify and protect copyrighted works, and adopting and implementing a policy that provides for the termination of services to persons who are repeat infringers.

Duties of the Designated Agent

The registration of an agent’s name with the Copyright Office is a prerequisite to invoking the Liability Shelter. The Designated Agent representing UCLA is responsible for


  • coordinating actions between the claimant and the alleged infringer;
  • making the initial determination as to which campus units, departments and Online Service Providers are involved and notifying the Vice Chancellor - Legal Affairs; and
  • maintaining a record, as required by the DMCA to qualify for Liability Shelter, of all infringement notifications and actions taken in response to them, including the names of faculty or graduate students in a teaching or research function named in a complaint, for a period of three years from the date of the alleged infringement. Such records will be held in confidence by the Designated Agent and shall not be disclosed except as required by law or University policy.
Online Copyright Infringement Penalties

Violation of University policies governing appropriate use of copyrighted materials may result in, but is not limited to, the restriction of access to campus information technology resources. Responsibility for such determination is designated as follows:
  • The Vice Chancellor – Academic Personnel and the appropriate Dean for faculty.ensuring that the notice from the complaining party meets the minimum requirements of the DMCA and if not, making a good faith effort to secure same;
  • The Dean of Students for students (who, in connection with the alleged infringement, were not acting in the capacity of UCLA employees).
  • The appropriate Dean, Vice Chancellor, or Vice Chancellor, Medical Center for staff.
B. Specific Provisions

With respect to any alleged specific claim, the following DMCA criteria must be met in order to qualify for Liability Shelter for infringing materials hosted on UCLA systems:
  • Online Service Providers had no actual knowledge of the infringing activity or knowledge of circumstances from which infringing activity was apparent or, if it became aware of such, acted expeditiously to remove or block access to it;
  • UCLA did not receive direct financial benefit from the infringing activity;
  • Upon notice of the alleged infringing activity, UCLA responded expeditiously to remove or block access to the material.
The determination to invoke the Liability Shelter provision will be made on a case-by-case basis, mindful of issues of academic freedom and the research and instructional responsibilities of faculty and of existing defenses afforded by, for example, the fair use provisions of United States copyright law.

Liability Rules for Non-profit Educational Institutions

The DMCA contains a special provision designed to clarify that not all activity of a faculty member or a graduate student who is an employee performing a teaching or research function will be considered the institution’s activity. Said individual’s knowledge or awareness of his or her infringing activity will not be attributed to the institution, so as to avoid disqualifying the institution from eligibility, if:
  • the activity did not involve access to instructional materials that were required or recommended for a course taught by said faculty member or graduate student in the three year period immediately preceding the date of the alleged infringement;
  • the institution has not received more than two prior complaints of infringement by said faculty member or graduate student in the three year period immediately preceding the date of the alleged infringement; and
  • the University makes available to all of its users informational materials describing and promoting compliance with copyright law.
The infringing activity of a UCLA student (other than in his/her capacity as a UCLA employee) also qualifies for consideration of Liability Shelter.

  1. The following steps should be taken by the affected Campus Officials after receipt of a Claim and upon eventual determination that the limited liability protection afforded by the DMCA should be invoked for that Claim by the University. The Vice Chancellor - Legal Affairs will make such a determination expeditiously and in consultation with one or more Campus Officials as noted below.
Designated Agent
Receives and processes notice of Claim.
  • Acknowledges receipt of Claim to claimant. Ensures that the Claim substantially conforms to content requirements. If required information is lacking, makes reasonable attempt to obtain same from claimant;
  • Confirms location and identity of infringing materials noted in the Claim and identifies publisher of such materials;
  • Sends Claim and local information to Vice Chancellor – Legal Affairs.
Vice Chancellor – Legal Affairs
1. Reviews Claim and consults with one or more of the following as appropriate:
  • Dean of appropriate school or division if publisher of disputed materials is a faculty member. May consult with Chair of the Academic Senate when a Claim involving a faculty member is disputed;
  • Dean of appropriate school or division if publisher of disputed materials is a student employed by UCLA in a teaching or research function;
  • Dean of Students if publisher of disputed materials is a student who was not acting in a capacity as an employee of UCLA;
  • Appropriate Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Medical Center, or Dean if publisher of disputed materials is a staff member;
  • University Librarian for issues relating to fair use doctrine;
  • Vice Chancellor for Research for interpretation of UC and UCLA copyright policies.
2. Informs publisher of alleged infringing materials that a Claim has been lodged. At his/her discretion, may inform the publisher that he/she may submit a counter notification if there is reason to believe that the Claim is mistaken. 

3. Following consultation with the above individuals as appropriate, determines whether access to the material should be blocked and if so, directs the following Campus Official or department to have access to the material blocked or removed expeditiously from the appropriate server:

  • The Dean of the school or division, or the appropriate Vice Chancellor or Vice Chancellor, Medical Center if it involves an administrative unit, if the material is made available through a server in a school, division, lab or administrative unit;
  • Business & Administrative Services, if the material is made available through a server located in On Campus Housing units;
  • Communications Technology Services, if the material is made available through the Bruin OnLine personal Web service;
  •    Center for Student Programming, if the material is made available through the Web pages of a registered student organization.
4. Notifies publisher of infringing materials and claimant of decision in writing (electronic mail or paper) and copies the Designated Agent. 

  1. The DMCA allows a copyright holder to request that a federal district court issue a subpoena to the Online Service Provider requiring it to identify the individual who is responsible for the alleged infringement. A subpoena may be requested only after a Claim has been received from the copyright holder. If the campus receives such a subpoena, normal procedures for responding to subpoenas should be followed (see UCLA Policy 120).






 /s/ Wyatt R. Hume



 Executive Vice Chancellor





Questions should be directed to the Contact for the Responsible Office identified at the top of this procedure.

Administrative Policies & Compliance Office · 2255 Murphy Hall · Mail Code 140501 · (310) 825-9116

Frequently Asked Questions  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Use / Privacy
© UC Regents