What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a law that was passed in 1998 in the United States that implements two World Intellectual Property Organization treaties. The two treaties that the DMCA implements are the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WIPO Copyright Treaty or WCT) and the World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty (or WPPT).

The most notable changes that the DMCA made to the United States Copyright Law are:

  1. Works from other countries are granted copyright protection in the United States, if those countries have adopted certain WIPO copyright treaties.
  2. Circumventing a digital rights management systems or breaking a technical measure that prevents access to a work is made illegal.
  3. Internet service providers are given a safe harbor against copyright infringement liability, provided they meet specific requirements.

Some other interesting changes that the DMCA implemented are:

  1. You are allowed to make a temporary copy of copyrighted works while repairing a computer.
  2. Vessel Hull Designs are given copyright protection even though they normally would not be entitled to copyright protection because they are functional.

The DMCA is very lengthy and made some broad changes to the United States copyright law. We hope to explore the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in more detail in future posts on this blog.