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Mohave Community College Libraries

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA, 17 USC) was added to U.S copyright law to address the relationship between copyright and the internet (including works that are digital or distributed online). It provides the legal process for copyright holders to protect their digital content from infringement (with some allowances for access).

The DMCA was written to address the the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties signed in December 1996 at the Geneva Conference. The DMCA has five titles, the first of four of which impact colleges, universities, and libraries.

Title I: WIPO Treaty  Implementation

  • Prohibits the circumvention of technological measures that control access to, or restrict the use of, a copyright-protected work
  • Prohibits the manufacture of any device, or the offering of any service, designed to circumvent technological measures that control access to copyright-protected works
  • Prohibits tampering with copyright management information (CMI). Creates liability for anyone who intentionally provides or distributes false CMI, including the title of a work, the name of the author or copyright holder, and other identifying information

Title II: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation

Provides limited liability to Online Service Providers (OSP) as long as the institution meets certain requirements (MCC acts as an OSP for students, staff, and faculty). Specifically:

  • Appoint a designated agent to receive reports of copyright infringement and register that agent with the U.S. Copyright Office
  • Comply with "take down" requests
  • Use measures to protect against unauthorized access to content and unlawful dissemination of information
  • Use only legally acquired copies of copyrighted works
  • Ensure the institution provides copyright information to its users

Title III: Computer Maintenance or Repair Copyright

  • Allows computer repairers and technicians the ability to make temporary copies of software while performing repair or maintenance.

Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions

This section addresses miscellaneous copyright issues, which are of particular interest to colleges, universities, and libraries:

  • Permits nonprofit  institutions to make up to three, digital preservation copies of an eligible copyrighted work
  • Permits the library electronically "loan" those copies to other qualifying institutions
  • Permits the library to preserve (including by digital means) a work in which the existing format has become obsolete.

Title V: Protection of Certain Original Designs

This section is of little concern to libraries:

  • Amended copyright law to protect boat hull designs for a period of 10 years after its introduction
This information is a brief summary of the DMCA. Please see the full text of the bill in the link above for more detailed information.