Digital Millennium Copyright Act
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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Shortened as DMCA) is a bill passed in 1998 that gives internet service providers some immunity from lawsuits and legal hassles with users who offer downloads on their servers that infringe on copyright. The bill merges two WIPO treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, and adds some US-only laws.
Like many laws attempting to regulate the internet, DMCA has had some unintended consequences especially in the area of research and innovation. One primary area of concern is cryptography. There is a concern that attempts to crack security coding with the legitimate goal of improving such security, are actually illegal under this act. Cryptoanalyst Niels Ferguson has made public claims that he will not publish anything related to his security work for Intel, even though it would help other companies protect themselves against similar weaknesses simply because of fears stemming from this law.
The DMCA takedown process also makes for a really handy means of censoring views someone doesn't like, due to its assumption that claims of infringement are valid until proven otherwise and the near total lack of consequences for false takedown notices. One widely-publicised example was that of gaming YouTuber Mafia Game Videos, then known as Modded Games, who uploaded a video of a mod for Grand Theft Auto V depicting a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as a sticky bomb weapon in a parody of the smartphone's exploding battery issues. Samsung took great offence and filed takedown notices against Modded Games and a few others who made similar videos, only for said legal actions to backfire and cause a Streisand effect. The original video was then reinstated not long after. Strangely enough, Samsung only went after those who made gameplay videos of the mod, but not GTA fan sites hosting the mod itself.
- "THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998 U.S. Copyright Office Summary." http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
- YouTube to Terminate Account of Scientist who Debunked Aids Denialist Movie
- GTA 5 MOD - Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Bomb). Mafia Game Videos. Retrieved on 7 September 2022
- Martindale, Jon. "It's back! YouTube video showing Note 7 blowing up cars in 'GTA V' is restored." 20 October 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2022