Protect my content

The DMCA and You

What is the DMCA?
The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 covers a range of topics, including making it illegal to circumvent Digital Rights Management and other copy-protection devices. As a result, the DMCA has acquired a reputation as being draconian and repressive.

However, this is far from the case, and the DMCA for the first time provides ISPs, web site operators and search engine operators with important protection against liability for copyright infringing material which may be found on their sites or networks. Operators in international territories that share a Free Trade Agreement with the USA may also be assisted.

More information can be found in this DMCA summary prepared by the US Copyright Office:

DMCA Take-Down Requirements
The DMCA provides a level playing field for content owners and search engine operators. After all, a web search engine operator cannot possibly check every one of the millions of items that their search engine indexes every day, nor can a social networking site trawl through and manually check every file posted to their servers by users of their site. The DMCA quite reasonably says that such services are not liable, as long as they promptly remove infringing material when notified to do so by the copyright owner. In other words, the DMCA puts the obligation on the copyright owner to find infringing copies of their files, and the owner of the site of search engine where those infringing copies were found to remove those items (known as “issuing a Take Down Notice”).

Accordingly, in order for your site or network to gain DMCA protection against liability for hosting infringing content (become "DMCA compliant") you need to, amongst other obligations, promptly (within 48 hours) remove infringing material when asked to do so by a copyright holder, and disable the login accounts of users who are repeatedly post such material.

The DMCA and P2P network operators
Current P2P networks generally have no central server, and no way for the P2P network owner to remove infringing content from their network. As a result, the only recourse that a content owner has is to sue the network operator.

By implementing a DMCA take-down system, the P2P network owner is able to action a content owner’s request to remove particular files, and hence an equilibrium is obtained where users are able to publish files, but if those files infringe a content owners copyright, the content owner can contact the P2P network operator to remove those particular files.

Global File Registry makes it easy for P2P network operators to become DMCA compliant. We’ve done all the hard work, you just need to ship our small DLL with your P2P application, and have your application call our DLL when displaying search results, at the point of starting a file download, etc.

The DMCA and Search Engine operators
If you operate a web search engine or social networking site you’re probably thinking "Making my site DMCA-compliant can’t be that difficult - I’ll just add an email address where copyright owners can email their complaints, and then I’ll check that mailbox periodically to remove those file - easy!"

You’re right - that part is easy. But now imagine that there are ten thousand different content owners who may contact you. Sometimes their requests will be valid, but sometimes they won’t provide enough information in their request, or they’ll provide the wrong information, or they won’t actually own the copyright in the files they’re asking you to take down, or they’ll try to use the DMCA to remove comments in a blog that aren’t favorable to them, or whatever. And in all cases you’ll want to verify the identity of the entity that has emailed you, or else you’ll risk anyone writing in to take down someone else’s files.

Right now there aren’t that many DMCA Take-Down notices being served each day, but as our White Paper predicts, we anticipate a huge increase in DMCA take-down activity.

So, save yourself the stress of working nights to verify the identity of every new alleged content owner who emails you to take down "that movie of the kid with the light saber that I saw on your web site - I don’t remember where".

By Global File Registry enabling your site, you get to relax, we verify content owners.

When you Global File Registry enable your site, your servers subscribe to a DMCA take-down feed from the Global File Registry database. Anytime a content owner finds an infringing file on your site, they contact us. We do all the verification, we provide a full audit trail, and your server automatically gets notified to remove the item at a specific URL.

The DMCA is a long a complex document, and becoming DMCA compliant entails a number of actions and responsibilities. The information presented here is for general informative purposes only. Do not rely on the above information when assessing your risk and obligations under the DMCA. Speak to a qualified lawyer for advice and guidance on the DMCA.