The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law established in 1998. The DMCA contains a number of different parts. One part contains anti-circumvention provisions, which make it illegal to circumvent technological measures that protect access to copyrighted work.
Another part of the DMCA gives web hosts, internet service providers and certain others a safe harbor from copyright infringement claims if they implement certain notice and take-down procedures. This is the part of the DMCA that most frequently presents issues.
In summary, the DMCA generally:
- Makes it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software.
- Outlaws the manufacture, sale, or distribution of code-cracking devices used to illegally copy software.
- Provides exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions under certain circumstances.
- In general, limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet.
- Expects service providers to remove material from users’ web sites that appears to constitute copyright infringement.
- Limits liability of nonprofit institutions of higher education — when they serve as online service providers and under certain circumstances — for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students.
- Requires that “webcasters” pay licensing fees to record companies.
- Requires that the Register of Copyrights, after consultation with relevant parties, submit to Congress recommendations regarding how to promote distance education through digital technologies while “maintaining an appropriate balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of users.”
- States explicitly that “[n]othing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use…”
If you discover your rights under the DMCA have been violated, call the litigation attorneys at T.W. Stevens Law Firm.