Recently, the DMCA, which stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, has been kicked up in several blogs and online news sites as it relates to Microsoft® and cryptome.org. One thing we’ve found missing from a number of comments and articles is a description of what the DMCA is and how it works. It’s a pretty simple process so we’ve outlined it below.
The DMCA is a law that was created in 1998 to protect against copyright infringement. The U.S. Copyright Office provides a more thorough explanation of the law.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”) Process:
- Upon receipt of a Notice of Copyright Infringement (the “Notice”) that complies with the DMCA, a Web host provider (the “Host”) will investigate to determine whether it provides Web hosting services.
- If the Host is the provider, it must promptly notify its customer of the Notice.
- The customer may opt to: a) remove the alleged infringing content; b) resolve the matter directly with the complaining party; and/or c) file a counter-claim challenging the claim of infringement.
- If the customer removes the content; the Host notifies the complaining party and closes its files.
- If the customer and the complaining party resolve the matter, no action is taken and the Host closes its files.
- If the customer challenges the Notice by submitting a Counter Notification that complies with the DMCA, the Host is required to disable access to the allegedly infringing site for a period of “not less than 10 business days, nor [sic] more than 14 business days” (the “Challenge Time Period”). The complaining party must initiate litigation within Challenge Time Period. Failure to initiate litigation will result in reactivation of the site at the end of the Challenge Time Period.
- The Host sends the Counter Notification to the complaining party. The complaining party must then either withdraw its complaint or file an “action seeking a court order to restrain the [customer] from the infringing activity” (the “Action”). If the Host does not receive notice of the Action within the Challenge Time Period, the Host may then reactivate the site. Additionally, during the Challenge Time Period, the customer may remove the allegedly infringing material. If the customer removes the allegedly infringing material prior to the Host’s receipt of the Action, the Host may cease disabling access to the Web site. If the complaining party provides to the Host notice of the Action, the Host notifies its customer of the Action and locks the services until the Host receives a court order regarding the disposition of the Web site.
For more information about how to avoid violating the DMCA check out the article “Before You Cut and Paste: Know Your Web Content Rights & Responsibilities!”Google+