What is the copyright safe harbor for internet service providers?

What is the copyright safe harbor for internet service providers?

In 1998 the United States pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA implemented a number of laws that synchronized United States Copyright law with World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty requirements. One of the laws the DMCA implemented was the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA).

OCILLA exempts online service providers (OSP) from monetary liability for copyright infringement if the online service provider meets certain conditions. An online service provider is a group which includes internet service providers and website operators. Online service providers are exempted from liability for both direct copyright infringement and for secondary liability for the infringement of their users.

To be granted exemption from liability for copyright infringement an OSP must:

  • have a policy to address and terminate users that repeated infringe on the copyright of others;
  • not interfere with copyright holders “standard technical measures” to identify their works on the OSP’s network;
  • not have actual knowledge that there is infringing content on your servers, or know any surrounding facts that would make the infringing use apparent;
  • not receive any financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity if you have the ability to control such activity;
  • and act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the infringing material upon obtaining knowledge or awareness that the material is infringing or upon receiving a properly drafted notice of
  • infringement.

OSPs that complies with the above requirements may qualify for safe harbors from copyright liability stemming from: transmitting, caching, storing, or linking to infringing material. However, safe harbor only extends to money damages, the online service provider may still be ordered by a court to perform specific actions such as disabling access to infringing material.