Post by Dan Lorentzen
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), online service providers are immunized from liability for copyright infringement so long as they comply with two requirements intended to protect the rights of copyright owners. Under the DMCA, online service providers include, for example, internet service providers, email providers, news providers, entertainment providers, search engines, e-shopping sites, e-finance or e-banking sites, e-health sites, e-government sites, and Wikipedia. Congress enacted the DMCA in 1998, which amended the Copyright Act to address issues raised by a rapidly developing Internet by updating rights, exceptions, and enforcement mechanisms. In order to qualify for immunity under the DMCA, an online service provider must (1) accommodate and not interfere with standard technical measures; and (2) adopt and reasonably implement a policy of addressing and terminating accounts of users who are found to be "repeat infringers"—commonly known as the "takedown" notice process.
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently released a document titled "DMCA Notice-and-Takedown Processes: List of Good, Bad and Situational Practices." While the document does not create any new policies or rules, it does set out "good," "bad," and "situational" practices for both senders and recipients of copyright "takedown" notices under the DMCA. The document is intended to help improve the efficiency of the handling and processing of both "takedown" notices and counter-notices. Although it is not comprehensive, the document is a good resource for any copyright owner or online service provider looking for basic practical guidance on making or dealing with "takedown" notices.
The "DMCA Notice-and-Takedown Processes: List of Good, Bad and Situational Practices" document is available here. Additional information about copyrights and DMCA "takedown" notices is available here, here, and here.