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.