Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)


About Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA):

  • It is a 1998 law passed in the US and is among the world’s first laws recognising property on the internet.
  • Signed into law by the then US President bill clinton, the law oversees the implementation of the 2 treaties signed and prescribed by member nations of the world intellectual property Organisation (WIPO) in 1996.
  • WIPO members had in December 1996 prescribed two treaties, namely:  
  • The WIPO Copyright Treaty and  
  • The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
  • Both the treaties require member nations and signatories:  
  • To provide in their respective jurisdictions, protection to intellectual property that may are created by citizens of various nations who also are co-signatories to the treaty.
  • The said protection, accorded by each member state, must not be any less in any way than the one being given to a domestic copyright holder.
  • Further, it also obligates that signatories to the treaty ensure ways to stop circumvention of the technical measures used to protect copyrighted work.
  • It also provides the required international legal protection to digital content.

About World intellectual property Organisation (WIPO):

  • With the rapid commercialisation of the internet in the late 1990s which started with static advertisement panels being displayed on the internet, it became important for website owners to urge the user to spend longer on their webpage.
  • For this, fresh content was generated by creators and shared over the internet.
  • The problem started when the content would be copied by unscrupulous websites or users, who didn't generate content on their own.
  • Further, because the Internet expanded worldwide, websites from countries other than the one where the content originated, also began to copy the unique content generated by the websites.
  • To avoid this and convey to task the unauthorised copiers, the members of WIPO, which was established in 1967, also agreed to increase the copyright and property protection to digital content.
  • As of date, 193 nations across the world, including India, are members of WIPO.
Internet Piracy, and the U.S. Approach to Addressing Online Copyright…

Who can generate a DMCA notice and the way are they sent to companies or websites?

  • Any content creator of any form, who believes that their original content has been copied by the user or an internet site without authorisation can file an application citing their property has been stolen or violated.
  • Users can either approach the web site on which the content has been hosted, or third-party service providers like, which utilise a team of experts to assist take down the stolen content for a small fee.
  • In the case of social media intermediaries like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, content creators can directly approach the platform with proof of them being original creators.
  • Since these companies operate in nations that are signatories to the WIPO treaty, they're obligated to get rid of the said content if they receive a legitimate and legal DMCA takedown notice.
  • Platforms, however, also give the other users against whom allegations of content cheating are made, an opportunity to reply to the DMCA notice by filing a counter-notice.
  • The platform shall then decide which party is telling the reality and shall accordingly, either restore the content or keep it hidden.

Frequency of DMCA notices:

  • It is the foremost common form of notices and legal requests by social media intermediaries.
  • Recent examples:
  • Facebook received 99,600 requests for copyright violations, 8400 requests for counterfeit data and 17,100 requests for trademark violations in December 2020 alone.
  • Twitter received as many as 1,74,000 DMCA requests between January and June 2020, affecting 1.2 million accounts, and resulting in 1.1 million tweets being withheld.




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