The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) is a United States copyright law that was enacted in 1998. Its primary purpose is to address copyright infringement that occurs as a result of the rapid advancements in digital technology and the internet. The DMCA provides a legal framework for protecting the rights of copyright holders while also balancing the interests of service providers and the public. Some key provisions and features of the DMCA include …
Notice and Takedown: The DMCA includes a provision known as “notice and takedown,” which outlines the procedure for copyright holders to request the removal of infringing material from websites and online platforms. If a copyright holder identifies infringing content, they can send a written notice to the service provider, who is then obligated to remove the content or disable access to it.
Safe Harbor Protection: The DMCA’s safe harbor provisions shield online service providers from liability for copyright infringement committed by their users. Service providers, such as internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, and social media platforms, can avoid legal responsibility if they meet certain requirements, including promptly removing infringing content when notified by copyright holders.
Anti-Circumvention: The DMCA includes provisions that make it illegal to circumvent technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works. This includes measures like encryption and digital rights management (DRM) systems. It prohibits the production, distribution, or use of devices or services that are primarily intended to circumvent these measures.
Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation: The DMCA provides limitations on the liability of online service providers for hosting or transmitting infringing content. To qualify for these limitations, service providers must fulfill certain conditions, including implementing and enforcing policies to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers.
The DMCA also establishes the U.S. Copyright Office’s responsibilities in various areas related to copyright, such as maintaining a database of designated agents for receiving takedown notices, conducting rulemakings regarding exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions, and providing guidance on copyright-related issues.