California Issues Cease and Desist Order against Student Website

San Francisco start-up is battling the California state education system over the issue of ownership of handwritten class notes. Founder and President, Ryan Stevens, says student rights are being violated.
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Cease And Desist


San Francisco - California - US

Oct. 13, 2010 - PRLog -- Gale S. Baker, general counsel of the California State University in Long Beach, said in a Sept. 21 letter to Stevens that a 2001 state law prohibits California students from selling their own “handwritten notes.”

In addition, the Chancellor’s Office sent an email to every student at each of the 23 CSU campuses notifying the students of this law and their inability to sell their own in-class handwritten notes.

Stevens opposes this law and has reached out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union, San Francisco (ACLU), regarding the rights of all students in this matter.

“This California law threatens basic constitutional rights,” said Stevens.  “Students should own their own handwritten notes.  It’s just not right.”

NoteUtopia has since complied with the Chancellor’s office requests in the form of a notice on the NoteUtopia website. Students are reminded that they cannot sell the notes they take while in the classroom, but can share those notes for free.

In addition, students can legally use NoteUtopia to upload and sell study guides, outlines, old homeworks/papers, and other course documents.  NoteUtopia offers other free services such as class discussion boards, professor ratings, and social networking.

Student’s rights are at the core of this issue, as California law implies that the author of a class note is not the owner of that note.

“I should own my own notes.  It’s absurd to think that the state can control what I do with my own handwritten notes.  They are in my own words, and therefore mine,” said Sacramento State student Patrick Smith. (Utopian World LLC) is a website launched in August of 2010, dedicated to helping students Study Better. While NoteUtopia is available across the United States, website membership is currently focused in California.  San Francisco native and recent graduate of CSU Sacramento, Ryan Stevens, is the company’s founder and president. headquarters is located in San Francisco, CA.  To find out more, please visit

# # # is a website launched in August of 2010, dedicated to helping students Study Better. San Francisco native, Ryan Stevens, is the company’s founder and president. NoteUtopia is located in San Francisco, CA. Visit

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