Digital millennium copyright act


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CSIS200: Society in the Information Age

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  • The topic I’ll be discussing today is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA for short. The issue concerning the DMCA is its bias towards corporations and its tendency to be abused resulting in the takedown of legitimate content and causing innocent people to lose access to their data. (Seltzer)
  • Read the slide. (Ellis-Christensen)WIPO (“What Is WIPO?”)
  • The DMCA has five titles. Title one is known as the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation act. It was used to bring the US into compliance with WIPO by criminalizing any method of bypassing DRM, the distribution of DRM bypassing technologies, and the dissemination of copyrighted material over the internet. Title 2 is the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act and it provides what is known as a safe harbor for online service providers that meet the DMCA’s requirements, which include responding to takedown requests and responding to subpoenas to reveal their users’ information. Titles 3 through 5 offer various miscellaneous loopholes for various copyright holders and service providers. (Ellis-Christensen) and (“DMCA”)
  • Although you may not have heard of the DMCA before, you have almost certainly seen its results. For the older people in the room, you might remember Napster—a music sharing site. Napster was taken down by the DMCA, which allowed the various music companies to sue them into bankruptcy. More recently you all might have seen the top image on Youtube, indicating that the site took down a video responding to a DMCA takedown request. The image right under that is Google’s version of the message, indicating that a search result was removed due to a DMCA notice. In Google’s case, all of the takedown requests are archived on
  • How many of you guys own at least one copyright? Lets see a show of hands. *Pause and count* As I expected, very few people claim to own copyrights. However it’s important to note that the DMCA also covers plagiarism and everyone here should have some original piece of content, whether it be an English paper or a photograph. That content is yours, it belongs to you, and you have a legal and moral prerogative to send anyone who plagiarizes your content a DMCA takedown notice.
  • Unfortunately the DMCA wasn’t designed to protect your content. Although you can send a DMCA takedown notice to infringers, the takedown notice itself has no teeth. The only incentive for an infringing website to respond to your takedown request is to maintain their DMCA safeharbor and avoid a lawsuit. When it comes to the general public, there are two huge caveats to DMCA takedowns: First and foremost enforcing a takedown request through a lawsuit probably isn't worth the amount your lawyer will charge, and secondly many underground websites that thrive off of this type of infringement are impossible to bring to court (Seltzer). The DMCA was designed with for-profit companies with teams of lawyers on standby in mind, not the general public who would have to wade through a legal nightmare in order to get anything done.If anything the DMCA can be seen as a tool for reinforcing these copyright holder's profits, by criminalizing your access to pirated digital content and restricting your ability to share or resell content you already own. Of course there's the argument that the DMCA benefits society, but those social benefits only indirectly benefit you and will probably be greatly offset the extra money you have to pay to access your desired content.
  • This graph shows the number of URLs named in DMCA takedown requests sent to Google. Google receives the largest number of takedown requests of any online service provider. In the week of April 1st, 2013 Google received and removed 4,057,869 different URLs based on DMCA takedown requests. (“Copyright Removal Requests”)
  • Over the past month Google has had 19 million URLs requested to be removed from 36 thousand different websites by 3 thousand different copyright owners using 2 thousand different reporting organizations. The vast majority of these notices were sent by the Recording Industry Association of America, British Recorded Music Industry, Fox Group Legal, and companies paid by copyright holders to send DMCA takedown requests like Degban, MarkMonitorAntiPiracy, and BAF. The trick to these numbers is the fact that DMCA takedown notices are sent by automated systems trolling the web for certain keywords. These types of takedown requests focus on bulk rather than accuracy. There are very few actual people involved in the process, as I mentioned earlier these copyright owners—or companies—are mainly interested in profit. That means leaving a few computers on running programs to automate the process of finding infringing content and sending out these DMCA takedown notices, which leads to some rather interesting issues. (“Copyright Removal Requests”)
  • Most of us are probably American citizens, those of us who are citizens are (hopefully) taxpayers as well. The Mars rover was a government funded program, a program we paid for. Apparently Scripps Local News didn’t think we deserved it when they DMCA’dyoutube and had the second video from the rover that NASA released taken down (Pasternack). Fox had an article from the San Francisco Chronicle taken down because their DMCA-notice-sending bot thought it was a link distributing the movie Chronicle (Masnick). GoPro later apologized for this, but they sent a DMCA takedown notice to an independent reviewer for using the names of their products in his review (Kumparak). On the other hand Microsoft hasn’t figured out all of the kinks in their bot and has it DMCAing their own webpages (Masnick). Furthermore, every single DMCA notice Google receives is archived on (“Copyright Removal Requests”). Since removing a link from Google only removes that link from Google’s search results, and not from the internet, has essentially become the largest database of accessible copyright infringing material which is rather ironic.
  • Read the slide. (Seltzer), (“Copyright Removal Requests”), and logic.
  • The biggest issue with the DMCA is the fact that takedown processes are automated; these automated systems are not foolproof. They are designed for bulk rather than accuracy; there is no penalty for sending a false takedown request despite the damage it may cause. These systematic flaws lead to massive amounts of abuse that Google, Youtube, and just about every internet user have to deal with. The DMCA is a plague on society, it thrives because our individual damages are too small to warrant the efforts and expenses necessary to stand up for justice. Very little isbeing done, people would rather live with the DMCA than expend the effort necessary to fight it. Even when new digital copyright legislation is passed, the DMCA will likely remain. Realistically speaking, the most likely way this DMCA takedown plague ends is through Google—with the number of requests they’re forced to process, they certainly have an incentive to oppose it. But when your content is DMCA’d, just remember to write an appeal to whatever company was hosting your data—you’ll likely have it returned.
  • Digital millennium copyright act

    1. 1. Digital Millennium Copyright ActMatthew BeyerSophomore at Siena CollegeApril 29, 2013
    2. 2. DMCA History• Enacted by the US Congress in October 1998to update the US Copyright Act in order tocope with new communications technologies.• The DMCA was necessary in order for the USto comply with the World Intellectual PropertyOrganization.World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the UnitedNation’s agency dedicated to the use of intellectual propertyas a means of stimulating innovation and creativity.
    3. 3. How does the DMCA Work?Title I: WIPO Copyright and Performances andPhonograms Treaties Implementation ActTitle II: Online Copyright Infringement LiabilityLimitation Act.DMCA Safe Harbor: Online Service Providers are not heldliable for their users’ copyright infringementDMCA Takedown Notice: A form used to request that anonline service provider remove specific material that infringeson one of your copyrights.
    4. 4. Image from GoogleImage from Youtube
    5. 5. How does the DMCA Work For YOU?How many people here have at least onecopyright? (Not copyrighted material)Image from
    6. 6. But How Does the DMCA REALLY WorkFor You?By limiting your freedoms through thecriminalization of the production anddissemination of technology, devices, or servicesintended to circumvent DRM that control accessto copyrighted works.Digital Rights Management (DRM) are any technology used bycopyright holders to control access to their copyrighted goodor service.
    7. 7. URLs requested to be removed from Google Searches per weekImages from Google
    8. 8. Images from Google
    9. 9. DMCA Takedown Abuse• NASA’s second Mars Rover video was DMCA’dby Scripps Local News.• Fox DMCA’d a San Francisco Chronicle articleclaiming that it was distributing the movieChronicle.• GoPro DMCA’d a reviewer for using the namesof their products.• Microsoft DMCAs their own webpages.
    10. 10. Who Does This Hurt?The general public:• By disrupting commons like Youtube videos andonline articles.• By arbitrarily removing our data and content.Online service providers:• Google is forced to deal with a disproportionatenumber of takedown requests.• Other hosts like Youtube are forced to removelegitimate content, which harms their users.
    11. 11. What Can We Do!?• Petition your local Congressman and HouseRepresentative!• Petition Google, Youtube, and other majorDMCA targets!• File an appeal if your content is removed!• Or deal with it.
    12. 12. CitationsEllis-Christensen, Tricia, and O. Wallace. "What Is the Digital MillenniumCopyright Act (DMCA)?" WiseGeek. Conjecture, n.d. Web. 29 Apr.2013.Kumparak, Greg. "GoPro Sends Reviewer A DMCA Takedown Notice, InternetExplodes - But Wait! It Was An “Unfortunate Miscommunication”."TechCrunch RSS. N.p., 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.Masnick, Mike. "Fox Issues DMCA Takedown To Google Over SF ChronicleArticle... Claiming It Was The Movie Chronicle" Techdirt. N.p., 29May 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.Pasternack, Alex. "NASAs Mars Rover Crashed Into a DMCA Takedown."Motherboard. N.p., Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.Seltzer, Wendy. "Free Speech Unmoored in Copyright’s Safe Harbor: ChillingEffects of the DMCA on the First Amendment" ExpressOAvailable at:"Copyright Removal Requests – Google Transparency Report." Google -Transparency Report. Google, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013."DMCA." Electronic Frontier Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013."What Is WIPO?" WIPO - About WIPO. World Intellectual PropertyOrganization, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.