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 a legal document, specifically an affidavit, filed by Gary Fung, owner of the IsoHunt Website (www.isohunt.com), in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Canada, on September 5, 2008. After receiving a letter from the Canadian equivalent of RIAA, the CRIA, stating that the IsoHunt website is responsible for copyright infringement and furthermore that Gary Fung must take appropriate action to make sure that the site is deactivated, in other words a cease and desist request. In response Gary Fung filed this document for the purpose of having his rights clarified by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which will in effect make it easier for Fung in later legal proceedings in regards to CRIA claims. In the document, Fung essentially reveals the nature and purpose of the IsoHunt Website. He explains why it exists, how it operates, and the content that it hosts. He makes it known that the site is essentially a search engine "similar to Google, Yahoo, Windows Live, etc." which exists for the purpose of making the search for dot-torrent files easier for users. He also explains that a user can essentially use Google and obtain similar results that can be obtained on the IsoHunt Website. Furthermore he makes it clear that no "content" is actually hosted by the website but just links to the torrent files are indexed. He also explains what are torrents and the BitTorrent p2p protocol that allow them to operate. He also makes it known that the Website is in no way affiliated with the BitTorrent protocol, the torrents, or the various software needed to download/create the said torrents.Lastly, Fung included eight supporting documents with his Affidavit one of which is a copy of the letter that he recieved from CRIA.
This source is important to my research project in many ways. First, it is a primary source from the owner of the IsoHunt website, the legality of which is in question by my research. Also it is a very recent source, which is very important in addressing the issue of copyright infringement by filesharing websites. It will be crucial in establishing the key differences and/or similarities between the technology this site uses and previous shut down sites such as Grokster and Napster. Further, the document also raises a complicating issue, that Google search engine technology functions in a similar fashion which implies that if one is not allowed to exist than how can the other be allowed to. The document also illustrates the DMCA Takedown provision in action, which in a way complicate my argument further, since Gary Fung does have all the necessary provisions of the DMCA addressed. Another reason why this is a valueable source for my research is that one of the attached documents is a copy of the letter from CRIA Fung recieved, which will be helpful since it exposes the vew shared by CRIA. Over all this is a valuable primary source that will prove to be valuable in my research.