Offices & Services

Copyright Policy


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

On October 12, 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which became effective in October 2000 and it has been incorporated into the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the U. S. Code). This landmark legislation updated U.S. copyright law to meet the demands of the Digital Age and to conform U.S. law to the requirements of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and treaties that the U.S. signed in 1996. The DMCA creates new rules for digital materials while addressing a number of other significant copyright-related issues pertinent to managing digital resources. Additionally the DMCA mandates several important studies and reports to be conducted by the U.S. Copyright Office and sets the time frames for their completion. Divided in to five “titles,” the DMCA is a complex act that addresses a number of issues that are of concern to information management in academic institutions. Among its many provision, the Act:

  • imposes rules prohibiting the circumvention of technological protection measures,
  • sets limitations on copyright infringement liability for online service providers (OSPs),
  • prohibits the manufacture of any device, or the offering of any service, primarily designed to defeat an effective “technological protection measure”,
  • expands an existing exemption for making copies of computer programs,
  • provides a significant updating of the rules and procedures regarding archival preservation,
  • mandates a study of distance education activities in networked environments,
  • mandates a study of the effects of anti-circumvention protection rules on the “first sale” doctrine, and
  • allows breaking DVD encryption in order to take short clips for purposes of criticism and commentary for noncommercial use, educational use and documentary films.