DMCA – Digital Media Copyright Act Essentials
Ever thought about using any content from other websites or blogs? Or thought about lifting images to use on your site or blog? My advice is don’t. There are many ways people convince themselves its ok to do just that without realizing the consequences of their action. They think just because it’s published on the web or published on social media outlets, it’s free to use by anyone as well. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Some think it is fine if they include a link to the original content and republish it. Others think it is OK if they include a credit to the original content creator. Again they would be wrong. Being wrong in this case could cost you plenty in fines, legal fees and intangible consequences such as your reputation and/or removal of your website.
The Digital copyright law passed in 1998, called the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) protects the original creator of that digital content you are wanting to copy, use, embed or use as your own. Next time you are thinking about a quick way to post content to your website pages make sure you read the laws that protect that content. I am sure you will not think like it again!
Wikipedia’s explanation of DMCA includes sections on provisions, Anti-circumvention and linking that may enlighten anyone whether an originator or a copier of digital content. It further includes court cases that exemplify actual instances that may clarify a familiar situation.
In any case, it is better to stay away from copying, embedding or otherwise taking content you didn’t originate than trying to find a way around it. Its safer and more peaceful for you, your website or blog. There are plenty of companies providing content protection and tracking with very large databases on piracy behaviors such as London based Muso.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the lifting of copyrighted digital content that are expressed by Anita Campbell in her post “11 Common Myths about Online Content and the Law” that may clarify your individual circumstance. However, if you are one of those people who are wondering about the merits of DMCA, wonder no more! Actually the web has experienced an explosion of blogs, search engines, websites, video and social networks since this law was passed and signed into law by President Bill Clinton back in 1998. All due to DMCA’s provision that protects ISPs, hosting companies, video and social networks as intermediaries when and if their users violate the law by doing what the law prohibits. If not for this law sites like YouTube, Facebook or other providers with millions of users would not exist today.
The DMCA provides two simple procedures to accomplish this and it’s called “takedown Notices”. A takedown notice is simply a notification to a company such as a webhost or ISP asking them to take down the copyrighted infringing material and of course that company will have to comply. However, counter notices can be used in case mistakes happen, perhaps the takedown notice sender didn’t realize you have a license to use that content since the company usually is not aware of those kind of mistakes, counter notices can be used so the content can be put back up again.
We have just scratched the surface of copyright infringement law. The DMCA is pretty extensive and very legalese but there are plenty of articles on the web on all aspects of this law and knowing more about it is beneficial to your website’s well being whether you are the originator or copier of the content. As usual we love to hear your thoughts or story regarding this subject by using the comment form provided.
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