Digital Millennium Copyright Act

This was signed in October 1998 by then President Clinton. This Act is sub divided in to Five Titles.

  • Title I, the “WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998,”
  • Title II, the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act”
  • Title III, the “Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act”
  • Title IV contains six miscellaneous provisions, relating to the Functions of the Copyright Office, distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act etc.
  • Title V, the “Vessel Hull Design Protection Act”

For better understanding of this DMCA one must refer to the Legislative text also.

Title I– briefly talks about the World Intellectual Property Organization copyright. It further goes on to greatly emphasize on its Implementation and made certain amendments to the US copyright law and the functioning of the US copyright office. Section 102 (b) of DMCA is enacted as it amends the sections 104 and 101 of the US copyright Act.

Title II – This title adds section 512 to the Copyright Act. The new section 512 goes on to add special rules related to the application of the Non- profit educational institutions 512 (e). This also includes the limitation in monetary liability of any service provider. To release the ambiguity of the definitions, amended section 512 also contains a definition clause. Section 512 (c) limits the liability of the service providers regarding the information collected/ stored by the providers from web. 512 (g) (1) provides opportunity to respond to the Notice initiated.

Title III– This title is enacted solely to focus section 117 of the US code – which deals about computer programs/repairs and the like. It also authorizes the owner of the computer program to make legal copies of the program. Like other provisions definition clause is provided in sub section (d).

Title IV – as already indicated contains six miscellaneous provisions. Section 401 a amended talks about the Commissioner of Patents and trademarks and the Registrar of the Copyright. Duties have been vested on the Registrar of the Copyrights on advising and providing opinions to the congress on the issues/disputes arising out of international copyright regime. Section 112 (a) of the US code is further amended by the section 402 of DMCA. It also provides certain exemption to “empirical recording”. Furthermore, section 403 of the DMCA gives a clean chit on Distance Education study copyright issues. It makes suggestions to the Copyright office regarding this issue. Section 404 of the DMCA amends the exemption for non-profit library in section 108 of the Copyright Act. Section 416 of the DMCA opens his hands to the writers, directors and play artists regarding the motion pictures.

Title V:  entitled the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act (VHDPA), adds a new chapter 13 to the US Code. In other words this chapter is introduced for the protection of the original Designs. Chapter 13 contains sections 1301-1332. The Copyright office is directed to conduct two studies regarding the amendments made to the US code in terms of Title V of the DMCA i.e regarding the VHDPA.


About Soundararajan

Pursuing BBA LLB in Symbiosis Law school,Noida (Symbiosis International University). Intern under Biz & Legis (from May 13 to June 12, 2013)
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