A citizen's legal guide to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)

In addition to our guide below, you can contact New Media Rights for 1-to-1 assistance regarding questions about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).  If you have received a letter referencing the DMCA or a cease and desist letter, contact us and we may be able to provide free assistance to help you understand your rights and respond.

Contact us or using our contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.  We have helped many individuals and organizations respond to DMCA takedown notices and cease and desist letters.DMCA pic

The DMCA has many layers, but was crafted to govern copyrighted content in a digital world.  It was adopted at the time of a realization in the mid 1990's that the Internet held the potential to transform the existing, centralized mass media "industry." The Internet provided a new avenue for the decentralized sharing of ideas and culture.

A number of large media companies were concerned that the Internet and new media threatened their business models, and much of the DMCA can be defined as an attempt by the industry to get legislation passed to protect itself. 

The provisions of the DMCA affect your rights and responsibilities on the Internet.  If you want to know your rights regarding 1) bypassing or breaking encryption technologies, 2) posting and removal of your own content on social media websites, as well as 3) your rights as a host of content submitted by users (ie as a blogger, website, or social media service operator), learning about the DMCA can help you.

Amongst its various provisions, the DMCA has important safe harbors built in that protect both IAPs (Internet Access Providers such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon) as well as online service providers, such as social media websites (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr) and webhosting services, from liability for secondary liability for copyright infringement.  Essentially this means that social media services and webhosts can avoid liability for user generated content (UGC) their users upload if they follow certain requirements.

Understanding the DMCA is important when you use new media, because it was specifically crafted to govern content in a digital world.  Take a few minutes and learn about the DMCA, and feel free to contact us with any questions.

It is a critical piece of understanding

1. Your rights regarding technologies used to protect access to copyrighted content (ie Digital Rights Management(DRM), encryption technologies used to protect movies, music, tv shows, etc.)

2. Your rights when you publish content on any website, including your own, and the online service provider (ie youtube, myspace, flickr, etc) or your web hosting service (ie Laughing Squid, GoDaddy, Site5, etc).

3. Your rights when you allow others to publish content on your website/service, particularly liability and safe harbors for hosting copyright infringing content on your website (in other words, if you have any kind of interactivity, ie you allow comments on your blog or podcast, or allow visitors to post any text, video, audio or other type of media, you could be an "online service provider in the eyes of the law, and this discussion is relevant to you).

“THE DMCA” by Flikr user urlesque used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license

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Youtube educational/cultural value usage of copyrighted songs

I recently uploaded a video using an audio of Burt Bacharach Summer '77 taken from another Youtuber. I added my practice lyrics since I am a poetess planning to collaborate with musicians by adding lyrics to their instrumentals. I previously mailed to one of Bacharach's agents another practise lyrics on Best Of Times but did not get any reply back. So I thought maybe I should just post like other fans who upload songs and hope that he will see it some day, or to use it to convince other musicians of my skills as a lyricist with instrumentals. This is like `majority rules`or common law mentality èveryone is doing it. I uploaded yesterday and although I can view it when I am logged on, it is blocked in most countries http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xIKW27pd7k . I wrote VEVO/UMG, ASCAP and SOCAN last night wondering how to do this legally, submit lyrics. I attended some meetings in a music industry event and this issue was discussed on copyright infringment versus increased accessibility is happening on Youtube. Anyway, can you advise me on this. I will probably be joining SOCAN too with my own compositions.

Nice Post...

Highlights Generally: · Makes it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software. · Outlaws the manufacture, sale, or distribution of code-cracking devices used to illegally copy software. · Does permit the cracking of copyright protection devices, however, to conduct encryption research, assess product interoperability, and test computer security systems. · Provides exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions under certain circumstances. · In general, limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet. · Service providers, however, are expected to remove material from users' web sites that appears to constitute copyright infringement. · Limits liability of nonprofit institutions of higher education -- when they serve as online service providers and under certain circumstances -- for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students. · Requires that "webcasters" pay licensing fees to record companies. · Requires that the Register of Copyrights, after consultation with relevant parties, submit to Congress recommendations regarding how to promote distance education through digital technologies while "maintaining an appropriate balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of users." · States explicitly that "[n]othing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use..." Free Credit Score

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