|Recent "Digital Copyright" Legislation: U.S.
DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
The debates in the House and Senate preceding the signing into law of the DMCA by U.S. President Clinton in October 1998 indicated that the principal object of the Act is to promote the U.S. economy by establishing an efficient Internet marketplace in copyrighted works. The DMCA implements the two 1996 WIPO treaties (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and WIPO Copyright Treaty) and addresses a variety of issues that arose with the increased availability of content in digital form. The Act 1) creates a series of "safe harbor" defenses (which are subject to a variety of conditions that must be met) for certain common activities of ISPs (Internet Service Provider), 2) bars the circumvention of technological protection measures that protect copyrighted works, 3) prohibits the distribution or provision of false copyright management information with the intent to induce or conceal infringement, 4) establishes an exemption for making a copy of a computer program for purposes of maintenance or repair, and 5) contains provisions concerning the "webcasting" of sound recordings on the Internet and the making of (digital) copies of copyrighted works by nonprofit libraries and archives.
A full-text version of the DMCA is available from:
The Library of Congress: Thomas (Legislative Information on the Internet): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/z?cp105:hr796:
Moreover the U.S. Copyright Office provides a memorandum, which briefly summarizes each of the five titles of the DMCA (pdf format): http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/legislation/dmca.pdf
The DMCA has been criticized for not clarifying the range of legal principles on the liability of ISPs and creating exceptions to only some of the provisions; therefore giving copyright owners even more rights.
Among the variety of comments on the DMCA are:
Lutzker, Arnold P.: Primer on the Digital Millennium: What the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Copyright Term Extension Act Mean for the Library Community. http://www.arl.org/info/frn/copy/primer.html
Lutzker & Lutzker law firm and the Association of Research Libraries: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Highlights of New Copyright Provision Establishing Limitation of Liability for Online Service Providers. http://www.arl.org/info/frn/copy/osp.html
1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)
Copyright Treaty, which focused on taking steps to protect copyright
"in the digital age" among other provisions 1) makes clear
that computer programs are protected as literary works, 2) the
contracting parties must protect databases that constitute
intellectual creations, 3) affords authors with the new right of
making their works "available to the public", 4) gives
authors the exclusive right to authorize "any communication to
the public of their works, by wire or wireless means ... in such a
way that members of the public may access these works from a place
and at a time individually chosen by them." and 5) requires the
contracting states to protect anti-copying technology and copyright
management information that is embedded in any work covered by the
treaty. The WCT is available on: http://www.wipo.int/documents/en/diplconf/distrib/94dc.htm