Digital Millennium Copyright Act

dmca

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a US copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.

Passed in 1998 by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users. The law is currently unsettled with regard to websites that contain links to infringing material; however, there have been a few lower-court decisions which have ruled against linking in some narrowly prescribed circumstances. One is when the owner of a website has already been issued an injunction against posting infringing material on their website and then links to the same material in an attempt to circumvent the injunction.

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