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US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Topics Covered: IP related issues.

US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act:


The Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology was locked out of his Twitter account for an hour allegedly over a notice received for violation of the US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 1998.


What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

It is a law passed in the US and is among the world’s first laws recognising Intellectual Property (IP) on the internet.

  • The DMCA oversees the implementation of two 1996 treaties signed by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) member nations- the Copyright Treaty and the Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
  • Both the treaties require member nations and signatories to provide in their respective jurisdictions, protection to IP that may have been created by citizens of different nations who are also co-signatories to the treaty.
  • It also obligates that signatories to the treaty ensure ways to prevent circumvention of the technical measures used to protect copyrighted work.
  • It also provides the necessary international legal protection to digital content.


Who can generate a DMCA notice and how are they sent to companies or websites?

  1. Any content creator of any form, who believes that their original content has been copied by user or a website without authorisation can file an application citing their intellectual property has been stolen or violated.
  2. In the case of social media intermediaries like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, content creators can directly approach the platform with a proof of them being original creators.
  3. Since these companies operate in nations which are signatories to the WIPO treaty, they are obligated to remove the said content if they receive a valid and legal DMCA takedown notice.


What is WIPO and how does it ensure protection of content on the internet?

  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations.
  • It was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.”
  • As of date, 193 nations across the world, including India, are members of WIPO.


Intellectual Property:

  • It is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents and trademarks.
  • It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition.


Insta Curious: 

Do you know about Data Exclusivity & TRIPS Plus? Read Here



Prelims Link:

  1. What is TRIPS?
  2. Indian Patents Act, 2005.
  3. Patent regime in India.
  4. What is compulsory Licensing?
  5. About DMCA.
  6. About WIPO Treaties.

Mains Link:

Write a note on compulsory Licensing.

Sources: Indian Express.