What is the DMCA

What is DMCA

An introduction to the Digital Millenium Copyright act, a revolutionary piece of legislation that has transformed copyright on the internet in the 21s century...

What is the DMCA
Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Found someone breaching your copyrights? Here's information you need to send a correct DMCA Takedown Notice to a third party...

Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice
DMCA Criticisms

DMCA Criticisms

Even though a lot of people applaud the DMCA, there is quite a lot of criticism. We'e listed the most common complaints on this page...

DMCA Criticisms
Notable Court Cases

Notable Court Cases

The DMCA is not just theory, quite a few notable court cases have seen the daylight in the last couple years. Here's an overview...

Notable Court Cases

DMCA Criticisms

Although the DMCA was welcomed by record companies, and software giants, alike, it was not without its opponents. Just as many were opposed to the Act but they simply lacked the lobbying power to take on the big companies. The main opponents were scientists and the open source software community who saw the Act as an attempt to stifle the free flow of information. Unsurprisingly, it has been misused from the very beginning.

The most common criticism is that the DMCA allows over-zealous copyright owners to demand the removal of material from websites that may not even be infringing on their intellectual property rights. The expense of challenging such a claim, and the potentially devastating effect of a refusal to remove the content and subsequent loss in a lawsuit, means that the majority of webmasters will cede to the unreasonable requests of such copyright owners. Too often, good websites have gone down because the owner of some similar website, that was around before it, makes a claim that the new website in an infringement upon their rights(which is not even allowed under the DMCA) and the new owner will simply turn over the domain name, and the website, to the complainant to avoid possibly worse legal repercussions.

The DMCA is also criticized for its negative effect on research; particularly in the field of cryptography. It is only too easy for an innocent cryptanalytic to be accused of a DMCA violation and face unjust legal consequences. One such, high profile case was that of Dmitry Skylarov, a Russian programmer who was arrested after a presentation at the once popular convention, DEFCON, and retained in jail for almost a month before being released, without formal charges. Other academics have also run afoul of misuse of the DMCA. In short, this argument points that the DMCA illegalizes free expression, to the detriment of many innocent victims.

Other arguments against the act state that it compromises “fair use” of intellectual property that consumers have paid for. An example of this is the extremes that companies, such as Apple, go to in locking down their devices. Third-party software developers must go through ridiculously tedious processes to get their applications to the end users of iPhones, among other popular phone brands. Many feel that the restrictions placed on these devices are far too excessive, especially considering how expensive they are to begin with.

In summary, the DMCA has just as many opponents as supporters but, unfortunately, the supporters (large companies) are simply more influential, making it impossible for critics of the Act to have a fair chance of getting it amended.

For more information about these issues with DMCA, contact an intellectual property lawyer, most of the time they know a lot more about this stuff than you.