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California Law on Internet Piracy

View a summary of a California law about Internet piracy.

It is now illegal to distribute commercial works electronically, specifically recordings or audiovisual works, to more than 10 people without providing both the sender's email address and the title of the work.

A "commercial" work is one whose copyright owner or authorized representative intends to or already does sell, rent, perform, or exhibit under license.
  • Adults who violate this law may be fined $2,500 and/or imprisoned for up to one year.
  • Minors who violate this law may be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year.

You are allowed to electronically distribute commercial works if:

  • You are the copyright owner.
  • You distribute the works to immediate family or to your household restricted-access network.
  • The owner or an authorized representative has given permission to freely disseminate the work electronically, via a cable system, or to a home satellite service.

Implications for UC San Diego

  • UC San Diego is responsible for informing faculty, staff, and students about this law, especially that they could be subject to fine or even imprisonment.
  • Students, staff, and faculty are responsible for respecting copyrights and avoiding the illegal distribution of commercial works as described above.