As with many laws, the DMCA is complicated and can be difficult for individuals to understand and use. There are several misconceptions associated with the DMCA and how it helps protect owners of copyrighted material.
Understanding Misconceptions About Digital Piracy and the DMCA
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act includes provisions for notifying website owners and hosting companies when pirated content has appeared. The owner of the content or the service hired to protect intellectual property sends a takedown notice. This alerts both the site owner and the host that the infringement has been discovered. The notice demands that the content be removed immediately. A service such as DMCA takedown czar provides anti-piracy protection and handles sending these notices as needed.
Misconceptions About the DMCA
As with many laws, the DMCA is complicated and can be difficult for individuals to understand and use. There are several misconceptions associated with the DMCA and how it helps protect owners of copyrighted material. This is an important reason to work with a takedown czar, as the team understands the limits of the regulation.
One misconception is that a DMCA takedown notice must be followed. However, it's entirely possible that a site owner has not stolen material and has created original material that is similar to something else already posted. This person is not obligated to remove content that actually is original.
A second misconception is that the DMCA applies internationally. It doesn't; it's a U.S. law. This makes it very difficult to handle content theft that was done by people in other countries on sites hosted by foreign companies.
Misconceptions About Digital Piracy
Just like the owners of non-digital intellectual property, owners of digital creative materials are automatically protected legally by copyright without having to register their material. However, many people don't even realize that digital material is protected this way.
They may steal content without even understanding that doing so is illegal. They believe photos, blog posts and other material they find online is free to copy or download, and even to republish on their own websites without asking for permission or citing the source. The one type of theft they may understand, at least to a certain extent, is that downloading music without paying for it unless the creator allows this is illegal. And they only understand this because there have been highly publicized lawsuits connected with this particular issue.