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  • Kaylynn Kattiyaman

DMCA - What it is and How to Navigate Through it

Written by: Kaylynn Kattiyaman

Copyright law exists to protect the rights and creations of artists and content creators alike. As copyright has evolved, however, the need for more streamlined protections have been implemented to prevent piracy and infringement. Whether you upload YouTube videos, stream on Twitch, or are interested in producing music on Spotify, you may have encountered or heard about an act known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The DMCA is a subset of U.S. Copyright Law that specializes in takedown, removal, and putback of copyrighted content displayed on the Internet. Since its enactment in 1998, the Act provides a system for removing infringing content and provides alternatives for copyright holders to ensure control over their content and materials.

There are three goals dictated by the DMCA: (1) establish protections for online service providers in certain situations if their users engage in copyright infringement; (2) encourage copyright owners to give greater access to their works in digital formats through legal protections against unauthorized access to their works; and (3) make it unlawful to provide false copyright management information or to remove or alter that type of information in certain circumstances.

Section 512 - Safe Harbors and Notice-and-Takedown System

Section 512 contains two elements. First, it enables copyright owners to have infringing online content removed without pursuing litigation. Second, it facilitates the Internet industry by providing legal certainty for participating online service providers. Generally, this section ensures to protect online service providers from certain liabilities for copyright infringement if they cooperate with copyright owners to remove infringing content.

Section 1201 and 1202 - Anticircumvention and Copyright Management Information Protection

Section 1201 prohibits circumventing technological protection measures used by copyright owners to control their respective works. This section also prohibits manufacturing and trafficking of certain circumvention technologies, products, services, devices, or components

Section 1202 makes it unlawful to distribute false copyright management info for the purposes of inducing or concealing infringement. This section does not apply for investigative or security purposes, but instead more general elements of information such as the name of the author, the copyright owner, and the terms for use of the work.

Lawfully Navigating DMCA

Despite the rules implemented, it is common practice to see people borrow content without permission. One common way this may be excused is if the use of copyrighted material is considered fair use.

Under the Fair Use Doctrine, four elements must be weighed together. The first element is the purpose and character of the use, which asks whether a work has a transformed purpose that is distinct from the original content. The second element looks at the nature of the original work, which favors more creative works than those that are factual and public. The third element considers whether the amount of the original work was substantial in the infringing use. Finally, the fourth element measures the market harm and damages caused as a result of the infringing use.

If you have copyright or trademark related questions, or would like to register your copyright or trademark, contact Curington Law, LLC at (312) 766-6671 or online.

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