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Digital Millennium Copyright Act - DMCA

Last Updated: Thu, 04 Feb 2016 > Related Articles


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was signed into law on October 28, 1998, to protect copyright holders' intellectual property.


On October 12, 1998, the U.S. Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to protect electronic intellectual property in agreement with a treaty signed in December 1996 at the World Intellectual Property Organization.  On October 28, 1998 President Clinton signed the Act into law.

If you are using any file sharing software, please make sure that any software or copyrighted material is not located in any shared folders.

Highlights of the DMCA:

  • Makes it a crime to circumvent anti-piracy measures built into most commercial software.
  • Outlaws the manufacture, sale, or distribution of code-cracking devices used to illegally copy software.
  • Does permit the cracking of copyright protection devices, however, to conduct encryption research, assess product interoperability, and test computer security systems.
  • Provides exemptions from anti-circumvention provisions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions under certain circumstances.
  • In general, limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet.Service providers, however, are expected to remove material from users' web sites that appears to constitute copyright infringement.
  • Limits liability of nonprofit institutions of higher education -- when they serve as online service providers and under certain circumstances -- for copyright infringement by faculty members or graduate students.
  • Requires that "webcasters" pay licensing fees to record companies.
  • Requires that the Register of Copyrights submit to Congress recommendations regarding how to promote distance education through digital technologies while maintaining an appropriate balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of users.


For the full text of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, click here



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