Thursday, November 21, 2013

DMCA policy and Its working process explained

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a copyright act enacted by the US government in accordance with two treaties of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) signed in 1996. It criminalizes an individual or an organization if he/they does/do not abide by the following conditions:

1) It is an offence to circumvent any anti piracy measure intended to prevent piracy incorporated within a digital product. Any effort to produce or disseminate technology, device or service to break the DRM (Digital Rights Management) service of any digital product is a criminal act as well.

2) It is illegal to make any device or technology which copies software without proper permission from the appropriate authority.

3) It is not an offence to crack anti piracy services in order to test the security of computer system or the performance of a product. Also encryption research does not fall under the DMCA break.

4) Under special conditions, non-profit organizations, schools, libraries, research institutes are exempted from DMCA provisions.

5) OSP's and ISP's are liable for the material they show on their websites. If they receive a notification from DMCA on behalf of any person claiming a particular material hosted by the ISP has infringed the copyright act, the ISP is obliged to bring down the material. This action is known as "DMCA take-down".

How DMCA take-down works:

a) Upon observing a contravened material any person can inform the DMCA about the material.

b) Upon receiving the request, DMCA notifies the ISP.

c) The ISP receiving the notification of Copyright Infringement would first determine if it provides hosting services.

d) If the host is the provider, it informs the intended user about the notice.

e) Now the owner of the material i.e. the user has three options. First, he can simply remove the material. Second, he can discuss the matter with the challenging party and resolve the issue or third, he can file a counter claim against the prosecutor challenging the infringement claim.

f) If the customer simply removes the file, the host informs the prosecuting party and put an end to the file.

g) If discussion between the two parties becomes successful,the host does not take any action and the file is closed.

h) If a counter claim is filed by the defendant, the host disables access to the controversial site for a period of not less than 10 business days, nor more than 14 business days (known as "Challenege time period"). Within this due time, the complaining party should start judicial proceedings against the alleged party. Failing to do so will enable access to the controversial site.

i) Finally the host sends a counter notification against the complaint filed by the complaining party. The party then may withdraw the complaint or take action seeking a court order to restrict the alleged person from using the infringed material.

j) If the host does not get any notice regarding the action within the challenge time period (10-14 business days), it can reactivate the site. Again, if the alleged party takes down the material before the host gets any notification on action taken by the challenging party, it can enable access to the material. On the other hand, if the complaining party takes any action, the host informs the customer and locks the service until it receives a court order regarding restart of the service.

6) It should be noted that, liability of copyright infringement by faculty members or the students of a non profit organization or an educational institution is limited when the institution itself works as the ISP.

DMCA has secured the copyright protection of an individual/an organization. Every ISP follows the rules enacted by the DMCA.