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Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998; 105th Congress H.R. 2281) - us digital millennium copyright act 1998

H.R. 2281 (105 th ): Digital Millennium Copyright Act

··· Overview Summary Details Text To amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Overview Introduced:

Jul 29, 1997
105 th Congress, 1997–1998


Enacted — Signed by the President on Oct 28, 1998

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on October 28, 1998.


Pub.L. 105-304

Sponsor: Howard Coble

Representative for North Carolina's 6th congressional district


Text: Read Text »
Last Updated: Oct 12, 1998
Length: 59 pages

History Jul 29, 1997   Introd jtyimhgs. outlet moncler via vittor pisani milanouced

Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber.

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Apr 1, 1998   Ordered Reported

A committee has voted to issue a report to the full chamber recommending that the bill be considered further. Only about 1 in 4 bills are reported out of committee.

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May 14, 1998   Alternative Bill — Passed Senate (House next)

This activity took place on a related bill, S. 2037 (105th) , possibly in lieu of similar activity on H.R. 2281 (105th).

Aug 4, 1998   Passed House (Senate next)

The bill was passed in a vote in the House. It goes to the Senate next. The vote was by voice vote so no record of individual votes was made.

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Sep 17, 1998   Passed Senate with Changes (back to House)

The Senate passed the bill with changes not in the House version and sent it back to the House to approve the changes. The vote was by Unanimous Consent so no record of individual votes was made.

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Oct 8, 1998   Conference Report Agreed to by Senate (House next)

A conference committee was formed, comprising members of both the House and Senate, to resolve the differences in how each chamber passed the bill. The Senate approved the committee's report proposing the final form of the bill for consideration in both chambers. The House must also approve the conference report. The vote was by Unanimous Consent so no record of individual votes was made.

Oct 12, 1998   Conference Report Agreed to by House

The bill was passed by both chambers in identical form. It goes to the President next who may sign or veto the bill. The vote was by voice vote so no record of individual votes was made.

Read Updated Text » See Changes »

Oct 28, 1998   Enacted — Signed by the President

The President signed the bill and it became law.

H.R. 2281 (105th) was a bill in the United States Congress.

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law.

This bill was introduced in the 105 th Congress, which met from Jan 7, 1997 to Dec 19, 1998. Legislation not enacted by the end of a Congress is cleared from the books.

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moncler outlet store locations Everything Wrong with Digital Copyright (And How to Fix It) Kyle Wagner 3/21/13 12:02pm Filed to: Copyright dmca Digital copyright EFF Top 119 2 Edit Promote Share to Kinja Toggle Conversation tools Go to permalink

Digital copyright is broken. We know this inherently, and wheeze exasperation whenever the latest nonsensical DRM news crops up. But fixing it's not as simple as tossing the whole system out the window. So here's a breakdown of every way digital copyright has gone wrong, and, with luck and persistence and prevailing sanity, how it can maybe fix itself.

What the DMCA Is, and How It Works

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed in 1998, is the foundation of basically every United States law regarding digital rights. It's also hotly contested, from both consumer rights activists like the Electronic Frontier Foundation , and from the music and movie industries who are pushing for more restrictive legislation. Like umpires in baseball, sometimes if both sides are mad at you, you're doing something right. With the DMCA, that's not entirely un true, but it's also deeply flawed in certain aspects.


To understand what the DMCA does wrong, though, you need to have a general understanding of how it works in the first place. There are a two main pillars to the law.


The first is the "safe harbor" portion of the act. It's what covers all of the copyright infringement takedown notices. Essentially, it means YouTube and Facebook and other companies that host content aren't responsible for what their users upload. Without it, copyright holders could sue those sites each and every time someone uploaded a Daily Show clip. It would, basically, bankrupt the entire internet, almost immediately. So, sites' only responsibilities are to remove content, without question, as soon as they're asked to, and to have a policy in place to deal with repeat offenders. If they don't, they lose their safe harbor status.

The other is the "anti-circumvention" portion, which forbids you from sneaking around any digital protection (encryption) for any reason. It has grown to encompass everything from DRM to phone unlocking, and almost criminalized jailbreaking. It's what gives the DMCA reign over basically anything digital, even things that would otherwise be clearly legal. Congress originally decided it would inject specifics into this law, but subsequently put a system in place where the Library of Congress accepts applications and grants individual exemptions.


So that's the law we're dealing with. There's plenty problematic about it even just in theory. But where does it go wrong in practice? Lots of places.

Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, helped walk us through some of the problem spots for digital copyright.

Copyright Takedowns Are Shoot First, Ask Questions Last

You've heard plenty about takedown abuse before, but here's a brief rundown of how it actually happens. Basically, in order to retain Safe Harbor status, outlets like YouTube have to remove any content copyright holders claim is infringing, in an "expedient" fashion. And there's no limit to the number of notices you can send, or any oversight to how valid they must be. So companies like Viacom have taken to machine-gunning hundreds of thousands of requests to sites like YouTube, demanding everything come down—from basic definitely-a-violation uploads to things that have only the most tangental (if any) relation to the copyright.


It gets absurd. Parents are smacked with notices for filming their kids dancing to a song on the radio, only faintly audible. NASA's own Mars Curiosity landing footage was taken down because of a bogus claim by a local news network. HBO once requested that Google remove links to HBO content from... HBO's website.

Imperfect as it is, the current system is actually a huge improvement over what used to happen. "The content owners in the olden days had to go to court and get an injunction, and a judge would take a look if there's a violation," McSherry says. "The DMCA makes this [process] a lot easier, but unfortunately content owners and their agents send hundreds of thousands of notices out. And there's abuse in that system."


What isn't as commonly known are the defenses to that abuse. For instance, you can file a counter notice with the site your content was on saying that your content was not in violation, and you want it put back up. In that case, the copyright claimant has about two weeks to file a lawsuit, and if they don't, your video, photo, song, or whatever goes back where it is. But that provision isn't made common enough knowledge, and isn't expedient enough. "That two week window is a long window, and not enough protection," according to McSherry, especially if the content is political or especially topical.

One protection that is built in is the definition of "expedient", and the allowance of time to notify the uploader. For example, if a takedown notice is given to YouTube about one of your videos, YouTube can send you a notice before it takes your video down, saying because of a claim by Sony, your video will be removed at, say, 5PM. This would give you time to lawyer up and possibly get an injunction filed. It wouldn't stop copyright owners from blasting everyone with takedown requests, but it could stop them from having total control over what comes down and when.


The problem is, not all ISPs and sites know they can take the time to notify their users before they take down the content. Or they do know, and simply don't bother giving you advance warning. YouTube and other safe harbor sites mostly just yank your content down, and wait and see if you care enough to fight it. So Big Content gets its way, regardless of what your rights are.

Massive, Idiotic Fines and Intimidation

Everyone knows the stories about massive fines levied against people who were caught file-sharing. Joel Tenenbaum is in appeals over a $675,000 bill for sharing 31 songs.

Recording Industry Succeeds In Ruining a Kid's Life Over 31 Stupid Songs

Yesterday marked the end of Joel Tenenbaum's court battle with the RIAA over 31 songs he…

Read more

These absurdities happen because of what's called statutory damages. Those come into play when a decision is made before a trial that it's hard to quantify, exactly, what damages were suffered, so prosecutors submit a range of minimum and maximum possible damages suffered. And there's nothing stopping that range from being massively stupid, like $75-$150,000. It's almost impossible that the RIAA or MPAA actually think that represents real damages, but it's brilliant tactically, since they only need to draw a tenuous line from a defendant's actions to the statutory damage. The range can in turn be treated as reasonable by a court, and that's how the absurd awards happen. "Judges have written opinions begging Congress for statutory damages reform," McSherry says. But still, no word from Congress.



Those idiotic numbers don't just serve as a severed head on a pike from the RIAA and MPAA to would-be pirates. They're also used by copyright trolls to intimidate lawsuit targets—innocent or guilty—into settlements. That's statutory damages at work: No matter how innocent you are, the maximum range of $150,000 is terrifying.

These statutory damages are actually covered by standard copyright law, not the DMCA. But that's half the problem. The original laws dictating damages for distribution were made with physical bootlegging in mind. The penalties are aimed at a more willful type of crime, like physically setting up shop and copying albums in a tape deck.

So how do you fix that? Simple: Congress has to fix statutory damages, McSherry says. "It wouldn't take much; what it would take is that there should be some line between penalty and some actual harm. Requiring the owner to show some actual damage would put us a long way to a sane copyright policy."

It Makes Legal Things Illegal

This is a good time to talk about phone unlocking and jailbreaking, both notorious examples of the DMCA's quizzical reach beyond what would typically fall under copyright. But aren't these more issues of access than problems with a "copy"?



"You'd think, wouldn't you?" says McSherry. "These are contract issues, not copyright issues. If you want someone different to work on your car, you can do that and void your warranty, and everyone gets that you can do that. It wouldn't make any sense to say that because there is software in your car, it's illegal to go to another shop."

And actually getting an exemption from the Library of Congress to carry out things that should be legal? Next to impossible if you're not a lawyer. "As a person who's been involved, it's a tremendously time-consuming process," McSherry says. "The Library of Congress is essentially getting a veto right on innovation. The last round, it took three of our lawyers hundreds of hours, plus traveling to and from D.C. to testify for why you need it. Between three lawyers, well over 100, and that's just one round."

And for a regular, non-lawyer person? "A regular person would start the process by hiring a lawyer. It's very, very complicated with a lot of steps, and you have to be able to go to D.C. or LA and testify in front of a panel of copyright lawyers. It's an exhausting process, and needs to be renewed every three years."


For instance, if you're trying to break DVD encryption so you can rip a segment to use in a totally obvious fair-use-friendly parody, you'd be in violation of the DMCA without an exemption. But in order to get that exemption, you'd need to travel to and from Washington several times, dedicating hundreds and hundreds of hours of testimony, just to exercise fair use on a piece of media you've bought and paid for. What was once perfectly legal made frustratingly not. It's exhausting, and prohibitively complicated, and you have to do it every three years.

So what is the way out of this mess? Forget even trying to streamline the exemption process. Some tweaks would help, like changing the default after your three-year exemption is up to automatically renewing, instead of having to re-apply. But really? Just drop section 1201 of the DMCA, which introduces this whole stupid umbrella of DRM protection. "Practically, it wouldn't change the world that much," McSherry says. "You can still put DRM on devices, people would still break encryption, but the changes would be people could develop innovations and security stuff without getting hit by 1201."



Use a Kindle download as an example here. If you remove 1201, it's still illegal for you to copy the file and give it to a friend, or thousands of strangers on the internet. But what is suddenly not illegal is breaking open the file to cut and paste a paragraph or two for a block quote in a paper, or to more easily parse it for specific words or phrases. Seems simple, right? Use your files the way you want and need to use them, and let actual thought-out laws determine if it's illegal.

"We already have laws for these things," says McSherry. "It's regular copyright law."

It Makes It Hard or Impossible to Make Things

So you can get an exemption to the DMCA for various reasons through the Library of Congress. And it has to be to be for things that are otherwise legal, except for the fact they fall under the absurd catch-all of 1201's "no breaking encryption" mandate. Except! You can't build the tools you need to carry out your exemption.


For example, you might get an exemption to use Handbrake to transcode video clips and use them in a parody. But the actual act of making Handbrake, or Handbrake existing and being distributed, is still illegal. You're cleared to use tools that themselves are not cleared. Perfect.


Not only that. Security research—you know, actually testing the security claims and capabilities of companies that hold massive amounts of your data—has its own exemptions. But those exemptions are very narrow—like one for only PC and Mac video games—and are vague enough to leave it more or less a crapshoot over whether the type of DRM you are cracking is covered or not. The early 2000s are littered with security researchers being threatened with DMCA lawsuits, like Professor J. Alex Halderman at Princeton, who published vulnerabilities found in the CD copy-protection software on Sony-BMG titles in 2003. After a lot of fuss, he received an exemption for the research in 2006, but only for "examining the security threat posed by copy protection software on compact discs". As new technologies emerge—new file types, new disc formats, new whatevers—we'll need up-to-date security more than ever, since those new techs typically have the most vulnerabilities. And that's one area where the DMCA will always be far too cumbersome.

A Better Way

The path to sanity, for both sides, is not going to be found in tossing out the DMCA in favor of new laws. We have, hopefully, seen that laws aimed at policing the unpolicable state of the internet—SOPA, PIPA—are not tenable. And the protections built into the DMCA are so core to the way the internet functions, that it would be insane to just toss a full-grown internet out with the bathwater.


We can make this thing better using the laws in place now. There are some simple fixes, like altering or tossing the DRM-protecting 1201, or making the built-in protections in the takedown process more widely known, or requiring fines to make sense. Or farther-reaching fixes, that acknowledge that piracy is more or less impossible to stop. "That ship might have sailed," McSherry says. "You saw this in the music space, but we've seen study after study saying people are ready to use legal services. So yes there's still infringement, and now there's iTunes and Spotify and artists are making money.

The answer is you have to give people good alternatives."

Playing Hardball in Government and Politics Good government from reflection and choice The Landscape of the Law The Landscape of the Law (Part I) The Landscape of the Law, part two The Landscape of Jewish Law Bribery in Jewish Law The Judge in Jewish Law (Hebrew) THE FEDERALIST PAPERS Will the People Follow the Court? MAGNA CARTA- DOCUMENTARY Origins of English Law Campaign Finance Call to Reform Campaign Finance CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMM’N ( No. 08-205 ) Why Nations Fail The Success of Nations Why Nations Fail – talks by the authors Niall Ferguson on Why Nations Fail The Wealth and Poverty of Nations WHY EUROPE? WHY THEN? The Losers What Can We Learn? The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Financial Crises, Debt, Economic Success (1998) David S. Landes, 89, dies The Wealth and Poverty of Nations Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor PDF: The Wealth and Poverty of Nations Adam Smith on Commerce or War Defense and Terrorism The F35 Islamic Terrorism and the Constitution The Iranian Nuclear Deal Contact Us Truth in Science Truth in Science, Truth in Corporate Research Psychiatric Drugs and Children Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield Brian Deer’s 2004 film on Andrew Wakefield – full film Brian Deer – Wikepedia Andrew Wakefield MD California Jam 2016 talk Vaxxed From Cover Up To Catastrophe full movie Dr. Brian Hooker’s official statement regarding William Thompson CDC Blocks Testimony by Vaccine Whistleblower in Medical Malpractice Case Dr. Andrew Wakefield response to the measles outbreak in South Wales Top CDC Whistle Blower: We Were Ordered to Cover Up Vaccine-Autism Link Merck Announces Appointment of Dr. Julie Gerberding Julie Gerberding Robert De Niro speak candidly about “VAXXED” vaccine documentary, his son, autism – NBC 13-04-2016 VAXXED Documentary Explored with Filmmakers on Antidote Dr Stephanie Seneff Presents Roundup, MMR and Autism A Toxic Connection Anti-Vaccine Doc ‘Vaxxed’: A Doctor’s Film Review The Choice of the People Julian Assange John Pilger, Australian Journalist WikiLeaks -BBC Documentary Our democracy no longer represents the people. The Parkoffletter Internet Sites Privacy, Anonymity, and Accountability Privacy, Anonymity, and Accountability Julian Assange John Pilger, Australian Journalist Julian Assange on TED WikiLeaks -BBC Documentary Regulation and Theft Who Regulates the Regulators? Lady Clinton THE CORPORATION Economics and Law Financial Crisis of 2008 Patent Trolls Vaccination Corner 1 Vaccination Corner 2 PHRMA.ORG WEBSITE EPA RULE 503 – Biosolids (Sludge) Recycling Genetically Modified Foods Playing Hardball in Government and Politics Uncategorized Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 gparkof1 August 4, 2016 August 14, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments The DMCA’s principal innovation in the field of copyright is the exemption from direct and indirect liability of Internet service providers and other intermediaries. This exemption was adopted by the European Union in the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000. The Copyright Directive 2001 implemented the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty in the EU.   Read More

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 PDF

U.S. Copyright Office Summary

Rick Kurnit, partner at New York law firm of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz, Pc

“In the simplest terms what the Digital Millenium Copyright Act does is provide  a safe harbor for people who distribute content so that they don’t have to investigate and be clear about the rights, provided you comply with the requirements of the act, which essentially is that you register so people can send a takedown notice to you and you take these things down when properly required to you won’t be liable for all the initial publishing.”

as found in Steven Rosenbaum, “Curation Nation”, p. 116.

For more detailed information about how you can protect your website from liability for content your users submit by taking advantage of the DMCA safe harbors, click here.  This is a basic guide on the registration process for the DMCA safe harbor.  Of course in addition to registering you must take a number of affirmative steps (terminating repeat infringers, responding to takedown notice) that we discuss in other guides.

Before using this guide, first identify whether you are an online service provider. Online service providers are websites which allow users to generate content of their own and upload it to the website. READ MORE

There are 4 categories of providers, and, each must respond to a takedown notice as detailed in the DMCA. The categories include the following:

*The most important category with regards to many new media services and web sites is the hosting services category, which originally targeted mostly web hosting services and focused on websites, but now also covers many Web 2.0 services, including blogs, podcasts, social media sites such as video, audio, and image sharing sites(Youtube, Flickr,, etc.   READ MORE

The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits

Call it ingenious, call it evil or call it a little of both: Copyright troll Righthaven is exploiting a loophole in intellectual property law, suing websites that might have avoided any trace of civil liability had they spent a mere $105.

That’s the fee for a blog or other website to register a DMCA takedown agent with the U.S. Copyright Office, an obscure bureaucratic prerequisite to enjoying a legal “safe harbor” from copyright lawsuits over third-party posts, such as reader comments.

There’s no better time to become acquainted with that requirement.

Founded in March, the Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content of the Las Vegas Review-Journal for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post, or even excerpt, those articles without permission. The company has settled about 60 of 160 cases for a few thousand dollars each, and plans to expand its operations to other newspapers across the country.

Many of its lawsuits arise, not from articles posted by a website’s proprietors, but from comments and forum posts by the site’s readers. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a website enjoys effective immunity from civil copyright liability for user content, provided they, promptly remove infringing material at the request of a rightsholder. That’s how sites like YouTube are able to exist, and why allows users to post comments to our stories without fear that a single user’s cut-and-paste will cost us $150,000 in court.

Wired Original Article Link


Designating Your Own DMCA Agent April 4, 2007 The DMCA provides Web hosts a great deal of protection when it comes to copyright infringement taking place on their servers. If hosts met the requirements and take a few simple steps, they can not be held liable for any infringement perpetrated by their users.

This is great news to hosts who, before 1998, were operating in a fog of legal uncertainty. Before the law was passed, there was a large debate about whether or not hosts could be sued for infringement, even if they were unaware of it taking place.

Read More at Plagiarism Today

Protecting Yourself Against Copyright Claims Based on User Content If you publish or use the creative work of others, their trademarks, or certain confidential business information without the permission of the owner, you may be exposing yourself to legal liability for violations of intellectual property law. Fortunately, if you allow your site’s user to post this type of content you can protect yourself from copyright infringement claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) , as long as you establish effective “notice-and-takedown” procedures, promptly remove content when a copyright owner notifies you that it is infringing, and have no knowledge that the material in question is infringing.  This page explains how this important law works.

Section 512 of the DMCA contains what are called the “safe-harbor” provisions for online service providers. These safe harbor provisions may shield you from liability for the copyright infringements of your site’s users and for linking to copyright-infringing material from other online sources, as long as you establish effective “notice-and-takedown” procedures, promptly remove content when a copyright owner notifies you that it is infringing, and have no actual or effective knowledge that the material in question is infringing. Section 512 has a somewhat confusing structure; if you are interested in navigating the language of the statute, this paper from Fenwick & West LLP attempts to lay out the terms of section 512 in a more logical fashion.

You are not legally required to comply with the safe harbor provisions of section 512, but doing so may help you avoid copyright infringement liability. The sections below address those provisions of section 512 that may apply to you and discuss what you need to do in order to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions.

Storing and Linking to Copyrighted Content: Sections 512(c) and (d) There are two safe-harbor provisions that potentially apply to your online publishing activities.

The first safe-harbor provision relates to materials posted to your blog or website at the direction of a user. This could include a file (e.g., a photograph, a film clip, an audio file) that a user posts to a comment section on your site or to a forum thread. (There are many other potential examples, the important thing is that the material is posted by another person, not you). This safe-harbor provision is found in section 512(c), and it states that, as the administrator of a website or other service, you will not be held liable for money damages for infringing content posted “at the direction of a user,” as long as you

do not have actual knowledge that there is infringing content on your servers, or know any surrounding facts that would make the infringing use apparent; do 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 (more below). The second safe-harbor provision relates to links you post to other online material located elsewhere. This safe-harbor provision is found in section 512(d), and it states that an online service provider will not be held liable for money damages “for infringement of copyright by reason of the provider referring or linking users to an online location containing infringing material or infringing activity, by using information location tools, including a directory, index, reference, pointer, or hypertext link. ” (emphasis added). If you linked to material without knowing that it infringed copyright, the language of this section appears to relieve you of liability, as long as you… From Digital Media Law Project


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