Campus & Community

Provost Announces Domain Name Policy

2 min read

Provost Harvey V. Fineberg has announced a new set of guidelines relating to the use of Harvard’s name and insignia in electronic contexts such as Web pages, e-mail addresses and Internet addresses. The guidelines spell out that such uses by members of the Harvard community need advance permission of the Provost or a Dean in the same way that other uses do, and that Internet addresses using the name must be registered to and owned by the University, as is the case with other trademarks.

“This new policy is one of a number of recent efforts aimed at protecting Harvard’s name and trademarks,” said Fineberg. “Because of the increasing importance of electronic communication, we want to make clear to the Harvard community what the rules are in this realm.”

In general, the guidelines spell out:

  • Advance permission of the Dean (in the case of a school’s name) or the Provost (in the case of “Harvard” or “Harvard University”) is needed before the name in any form or in combination with other words can be used or registered.
  • Any Internet address which includes the name “Harvard” or any of its schools must be registered to the University, not to an individual or group.
  • In most cases, the appropriate registry for University activities will be “” or “.org.”, not “.com” or “.net.”
  • The guidelines apply whether a Harvard University server or an outside server is used.

“These guidelines make clear that our approach to using the Harvard name in cyberspace is similar to uses in the non-electronic context,” said Assistant Provost Sarah Wald. “This might arise when an individual department seeks to set up an Internet address such as “” or when a student group sets up a web page that it calls “” In many cases, the groups or units setting up these addresses do not realize that there may be an issue with the use of the name. We want to make sure that suggestions of relationships with Harvard or its schools are accurate, and that electronic names and addresses reflect who is responsible for them.”

The full guidelines are posted on the Provost’s Web page (, or copies may be obtained by contacting the Assistant Provost’s Office at (617) 496-5775.