Get The Facts

UCLA Campus

File sharing technology and peer to peer (P2P) software programs (i.e., BitTorrent, Utorrent, etc.) are not in inherently illegal, but what and how you share may be.

When you upload or distribute copies of copyrighted works, or when you download or acquire unlicensed copies of copyrighted works, you may be infringing someone else’s rights. This is true regardless of where the sharing occurs – e.g., UCLA’s residential hall network, UCLA's wired or wireless networks, or your own off-campus broadband connection – and it does not matter if it is with just with a few friends or the whole Internet. If you are infringing – even unwittingly – you can be subject to civil damages of between $750 and $150,000 per infringement and even criminal jail time.

Information about copyright

Information about copyright can be found on the UC Copyright Education web site, including appropriate versus inappropriate uses of copyrighted material, copyright ownership and using copyrighted material, and links to pertinent University of California policies. It also speaks to copyright law allowing for the “fair use” of copyrighted materials for purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research. Additional material on this complex subject is available from Using Copyrighted Works of OthersConditions for Use and Licensing for Electronic Resources and Resources for Teaching Faculty.


In compliance with federal law, UCLA acts expeditiously when notified by copyright holders of alleged copyright infringement on the campus network, as per UCLA Policy 464, On-line Copyright Infringement Liability Notification.

Further information about Universitywide Copyright Policies and Guidance is available, including about the UC Electronic Communications Policy which states that “The contents of all electronic communications shall conform to laws and University policies regarding protection of intellectual property, including laws and policies regarding copyright, patents, and trademarks” (section III.D.10, Intellectual Property)..

Student Conduct Process and Sanctions

UCLA implements an active program for responding to copyright infringement notices. The institution follows system-wide guidelines for complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) In accordance with established procedures, UCLA has a DMCA agent and designated DMCA e-mail account, which are on file with the US Copyright Office. When UCLA 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.

The UC Electronic Communications Policy provides for sanctions. It states that “In compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the university reserves the right to suspend or terminate access to university electronic communications systems and services by any user who repeatedly violates copyright law.” (Section III.E, Allowable Use).

Student infringers are subject to sanctions under the UCLA Student Conduct Code, Section 102.05, Computers: “Abuses include, but are not limited to … violations of copyright laws, whether by theft, unauthorized sharing or other misuse of copyrighted materials such as songs, movies, software, photos or text.”

Notices of alleged copyright infringement related to connections in the Residence Halls are automatically routed and processed by technology known as UCLA’s Quarantine Approach. A first-time recipient of a infringement claim is required to attend a workshop covering all aspects of file sharing and alternatives led by the Office of the Dean of Students. A second-time recipient of an infringement claim requires an in-person interview with a representative of the Office of the Dean of Students, with different possible outcomes for required action or sanctions following University guidelines. Additionally, repeat offenders may have their internet privileges revoked for a period of time.