Find the right lawyer now

Digital Millennium Copyright Act Lawyers

Find a Local Business Lawyer near You

What Is the Purpose of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act?

Basically, this act is used to enforce copyright laws concerning software and prohibit certain acts of software piracy.

What Are Some of the Specific Provisions of this Act?

Some of the specific provisions covered in this Act are:

  • Prohibits the making and sale (or even giving away for free) of code-cracking items used to illegally copy software
  • Prohibits any methods that are used to get around anti-piracy measures built into commercial software, except when used by nonprofit libraries, archives, schools and universities under certain circumstances
  • Internet service providers generally cannot be held liable for copyright infringement when they are simply transmitting information.  However, if an ISP comes across material on a website this is considered copyright infringement, the ISP is required to have material removed
  • Webcasters must pay licensing fees to record companies
  • Service providers are required to have a policy permanently banning repeat offenders from the network 

Are There Any Defenses If I Am Accused of Violating the DMCA?

As mentioned above, there are specific exemptions for service providers and educational purposes. In addition, certain types of material cannot be copyrighted. Intellectual property which is mainly facts, procedures, concepts, or which constitutes a “discovery” of the natural world cannot be copyrighted. Examples include: recipes, history, and popular creative tropes, like masked superheroes. 


Beyond those exemptions, there are specific procedural steps that must be taken before a copyright violation can be brought to court under the DMCA. The act requires that copyright holders give service providers prior notice before going to court. In turn, service providers are required to provide notice to website owners after their website has been taken down. The notice provided by the copyright holder and the service provider must describe exactly what material is copyrighted. If there is a lot of copyrighted material on the website, then a “substantial amount” of the material must be named.

Those who have had their property (websites, blogs, etc.) removed from the internet have the right to sue the alleged copyright holder to challenge their claim that the website had copyrighted material. If the website owner wins, the website will be restored.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Accused of Violating this Law?

If you are found violating this Act, the aggrieved party may bring a civil lawsuit against you and you could be liable for not only loss of profits to the aggrieved party, but may also have to pay statutory damages, which could amount to as much as $2,500 per act that was in violation of this law.

If you have accused of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act you should consult an attorney who has experience in cyberspace law. Your business attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and let you know of any potential defenses you may have, as well as help you decide what the best course of action to take is.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 05-23-2018 08:22 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.