DMCA lawyers 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that has changed the way that copyright violations are handled on the Internet.  The law implements two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties in order to criminalize illegal production and dissemination of copyrighted material.   The DMCA provides a safe harbor for online service providers that meet certain statutory standards.  This safe harbor exempts Internet service providers and other intermediaries from both direct and indirect liability if they meet certain factors under the law.

DMCA Safe Harbor

The DMCA takedown and safe harbor both come from the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (“OCILLA”) section of the DMCA. The aim of this act is to balance the competing interests of copyright owners against digital users and online service providers.

Due to the proliferation of the Internet, social media platforms, and hosting websites, Internet service providers (ISPs) have increasingly become unwitting hosts of material that potentially infringes on another’s copyright. Popular websites that host forums, blogs, or encourage user-submissions of content are all vulnerable to claims of infringement due to a general inability to regularly review user-submitted content.

DMCA Takedown Notice

The DMCA allows for copyright owners to send “DMCA takedown” notices to online service providers in order to facilitate quick removal of copyrighted work from online websites. In order to send a proper DMCA takedown notice, copyright owners must follow statutory procedure when sending notice of potentially infringing use. If a website hosts potentially infringing use, OCILLA exempts the online service provider from liability if it complies with the takedown notice in an expeditious manner.

DMCA Counter Notice

If you are the victim of an unlawful DMCA Notice, you can file a counter notice, which requires the person who filed against you to file a court case within a certain amount of time or the ISP must restore the allegedly infringing content.  Filing a false DMCA Notice can also subject the filer to damages and possible criminal prosecution.  

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