The DMCA or Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a copyrights law in the United States that integrates the clauses of two major 1996 treaties namely the Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty signed by the WIPO or the World Intellectual Property Organization. It is an act enacted under the DRM or Digital Rights Management law in the United States that was brought into force by the erstwhile President Bill Clinton back in 1998.

What is DMCA?

According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it is crime to produce and disseminate services, devices, and technologies that are designed to evade the DRM measures that otherwise regulate and control access and the retrieval of copyrighted works. In addition to that, the act also criminalizes the process of bypassing access control as stipulated by the DRM, regardless of whether the actual copyright has been infringed upon or not. The primary motive behind designing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was to update the traditional versions of the copyright laws and deal with the specialized and more critical regulatory challenges for new age digital media.

Signed on October 28, 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act introduced an amendment to the Title 17 of the US Code in a bid to broaden the scope of copyright and putting a restriction on the liability of the online service providers for any kind of copyright infringement by the users. To put it in simpler words, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was typically designed to protect the rights of both the consumers as well as the copyright owners.

More about the DMCA

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was drafted after careful consideration and valuable inputs from a plethora of scientists, publishers, civil rights groups and other relevant professionals and organizations who were in a constant conflict with one another to reach a common ground suited to all. When followed strictly, the DMCA outlaws a number of completely ethical as well as mandatory activities as well. For instance, procedures such as reverse engineering and encryption research would also be considered illegal as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That being said, the DMCA still has a lot of controversy surrounding it. However, there have been major revisions in the DMCA to incorporate certain processes such as security research and encryption as an exception to the stipulated clauses of illegality.