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What Is the DMCA?

By the middle, the late 1990s, peer-to-peer file-sharing and other new digital technologies had facilitated widespread illegal access to copyrighted material.
In response, industry organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lobbied for the creation of a formal process by which copyright holders could assert their rights over media posted to third-party websites and have copyrighted material removed promptly.
The DMCA is the result — a collaboration between legislators, media companies, and consumer advocates. DMCA is short for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is a US law that was enacted by the US Congress in 1998 and signed by President Bill Clinton on October 28th of that year.

How Can Notices Be Filed?

The core tool of the DMCA is the DMCA takedown notice. When a copyright holder learns of a violation, a DMCA takedown notice is issued to the service that hosts the offending website or to the internet service provider (ISP) of the violator.
Infringing material can also be removed from search results by issuing a notice to a search engine.
A written notice must be sent to the organization's DMCA agent in writing, identifying the original copyrighted work and the material infringing on a copyright. It must be signed by the copyright holder or their agent.
There is no official DMCA takedown notice form that copyright holders are required to use.
However, each complaint must adhere to certain specifications to be valid. In addition to providing contact information and identifying the suspected copyright infringement, the originator of the notice must state:
  • That the notice is filed in good faith
  • That all information in the notice is accurate
  • That under penalty of perjury, the originator is entitled to act on behalf of someone who owns an exclusive right — that is, copyright — currently being violated.

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