This is a summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 released by the Copyright Office. The DMCA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It is divided into five titles.
- Title 1: WIPO TREATY IMPLEMENTATION implements the WIPO treaties. The title makes several technical amendments regarding national eligibility, restoration of copyright protection and registration as a prerequisite to suit. Although the title provides exceptions, the title essentially prohibits the production/services of copyright-protection circumvention tools. Further it prohibits the distribution of such tools/services.
- Title 2: ONLINE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LIABILITY LIMITATION. The title essentially provides a safe-harbor for online service providers as long as they meet certain provisions of the title. It establishes for classes of online services: transitory communictations, system caching, storage of information on systems or networks at the direction of users, and information location tools. In general as long as a service provider does not have requisite knowledge of infringing material, does not recieve financial gain attributable to infringing activity, and further more once the service provider is notified of infringing material it must act fast to take down or block access to such material.
- Title 3: Computer Maintenaince or Repair. This title basically says that an owner of a computer or a lessee doing maintenance or repair on the computer is excempt from copyright infringement if a situation arrises during which one must make a copy of a program for back up purposes. However the original copy must have been lawfully owned and further once all repair/maintenance has been finished the back up copy must be destroyed.
- Title 4: MISCELANIOUS PROVISIONS. This title further clarifies certain existing provisons and implements new ones regarding broadcast excemptions, library and archive excemptions among other things.
- Title 5: PROTECTION OF CERTAIN ORIGINAL DESIGNS. This title primarily deals with the protection of vessel hull designs.
This source is very valuable for my reseach paper. Specifically Titles 1 and 2 are going to be analyzed and used in my research paper. Title 1 is important in 1 crucial way. Although it may be a leap, in the sense of a legal court room, but I believe that the following analysis can be seen valid. IsoHunt and other similar websites link to/index .torrent files that allow users to download ISOs. ISOs are images of original CDs or DVDs. Now given that the DMCA prohibits the circumvention of encrypted DVDs, and other content such as software, these ISOs are illegal according to Title 1 of the DMCA. IsoHunt and other similar websites allow users to search for and download such ISOs. The title of the website itself: "IsoHunt" suggests that the primary purpose of it is to "hunt" for "Iso"s. Title 2 is important for my paper because site operators such as Gary Fung (see affidavit no.1) often claim that as long as they follow the safe harbor provisions established by Title 2 of the DMCA, they may not be held liable for contributory infringement. Thus in my research paper I plan to make careful analyses of both these safe-harbor provisions and the claims of site operators. Title 2 is also important because many other important sources that will be used directly deal with this title.
This is the Supreme Court Opinion regarding the MGM et al v. Grokster et al case. The opinion of the court was delivered by Justice Sutter. Essentially what happened was that the decision made by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was reversed. The question raised before the court was "under what circumstances the distributor of a product capable of both lawful and unlawful use is liable for acts of copyright infringement by third parties using the product." According to the court, there was an error made by the Ninth Circuit Court, in its interpretation of Sony v. Universal City Studios. "The Ninth Circuit has read Sony’s limitation to mean that whenever a product is capable of substantial lawful use, the producer can never be held contributorily liable for third parties’ infringing use of it..." This document includes a description, gathered in the process of litigation, of how the Grokster and StreamCast products worked what technologies they used (Gnutella and FastTrack) and more importantly how the products were used by their users. It is made known that although the products have legitimate uses "90%" are copyright infringement uses. Another important point made by the document is that both Grokster and StreamCast profitted from advertisements that users would see while using the product. Furthermore, it is made known that "the business models employed by Grokster and StreamCast confirm that their principal object was use of their software to download copyrighted works." The decision of MGM v. Grokster essentially made the precedent that the Sony v. Universal decision doesn't leave service providers such as Grokster and StreamCast unliable for copyright infringement made by third parties using their product.
This source is very valuable for my research paper because it is one of the only cases dealing directly with the issue of p2p filesharing. Furthermore it provides support for my contention that government can and should shut down websites involved with/enabling copyright infringement. Many of such service providers use the Sony v. Universal case as defense against being liable for copyright infringement stemming from the use of their service by third party users. This case set a precedent to how future cases involving filesharing and copyright infringement cases are going to be handled in the future. Also, many of the current websites being targeted by the MPAA and RIAA and other agencies, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, including www.IsoHunt.com among others, function in similar ways as Grokster and StreamCast did. Therefore if Grokster and StreamCast were found liable by the Supreme Court in this case, some of the strategies/analyses from this case can be used to shut down other sites such as IsoHunt.