15 Tips for Content Creators: What are DMCA Violations
15 Tips for Content Creators: What are DMCA Violations
The inception of the internet has led to people uploading billions of gigabytes of digital content from movies and games to music and much more as explained over at runrex.com. This means that there has to be a framework that protects content creators when someone violates copyright laws by posting their work online without their consent. In the US, this is where DMCA comes in, and this article will look to highlight 15 tips that should help you understand what DMCA violations are.
- What is the DMCA?
Passed in 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a US law addressing several concerns regarding copyright and the internet as covered over at guttulus.com. The law primarily focused on 2 areas, the first being that it extended the reach of copyright regulations to the internet bringing the US rules in line with the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, and the second being that it granted safe harbor for online platforms, limiting their liability for any copyright infringement that might occur on their platform by users.
- Why the safe harbor?
According to runrex.com, by granting Internet service providers like Twitch and YouTube safe harbor, exempting them from responsibility for their users’ copyright infringement, the law opened up user-generated content sites to freely grow without the need to worry too much about getting sued for hosting content that violated copyright law.
- How does an online provider qualify for a safe harbor?
As is outlined over at guttulus.com, for an online service provider to qualify for this safe harbor, they must follow strict rules and guidelines regarding their copyright enforcement. This means blocking access to content that features copyright violations once they receive a claim from the holder of the copyright or their agent.
- Where can DMCA takedown notices be issued
DMCA takedown notices can be issued by holders on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, or any other site that relies on user-generated content as discussed over at runrex.com. If such sites are to keep their safe harbor privileges, they will be required to investigate and comply with the takedown notice if it is determined that the flagged content violated the copyright provisions. In most cases, to be safe, they will disable the content or its monetization until the dispute is resolved.
- What is a DMCA violation?
Now that we know what the DMCA is, the next thing to highlight is regards what a violation of the DMCA is. A violation of the DMCA is using someone else’s copyrighted material without their permission or if the content isn’t covered by the doctrine of Fair Use.
- What is Fair Use?
The doctrine of Fair Use, as covered over at guttulus.com, is a legal doctrine and defense that is commonly used in copyright abuse cases and that says a person is allowed to use copyrighted material without permission if the material meets a particular set of criteria. It is worth noting that Fair Use isn’t part of the law, instead, it is a defense used when someone is accused of copyright violations.
- Factors considered by a court when seeking to determine if a work falls under Fair Use
According to runrex.com, a court will consider 4 factors when looking to determine if a work falls under Fair Use, and they include: looking at the purpose and character of the use, including if it is commercial work or not, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and if the new work transforms that nature, looking at the amount of the copyrighted work that is included in the new work, and considering the potential damage to the value of the original work caused by the creation of the new work.
- DMCA abuse
It is important to point out that Fair Use very rarely comes into play when a DMCA claim is made and that the doctrine is mostly used by the courts. This means that online service providers usually tend to hand out strikes if there is a shred of doubt and will comply eve with the shadiest of DMCA claims since they don’t want to lose their safe harbor status as explained over at guttulus.com, which can lead to DMCA abuse.
- What if you are inside the US and someone based outside the country steals your content?
As is covered over at runrex.com, if you are inside the US and the site where your content has appeared without your permission is based out of the country, if it is hosted in any of the WIPO member countries, then you can issue a DMCA takedown notice and the site’s owner will be expected to comply. If the site is hosted in a country that is not a member of the WIPO, then it may prove difficult to get the content removed.
- What if you are outside the US and someone in the US has published your content without permission?
In such a situation, you can also issue a DMCA notice and expect full compliance from the site provider as is the case made in the point above. Just make sure that you check the rules where you live as such rules may vary from country to country.
- What if someone refuses to comply
In the two above cases, it is not a guarantee that the service provider will cooperate just because you have issued them with a DMCA takedown notice. If they refuse to comply, it is important to remember that you still have legal recourse as explained over at guttulus.com, although the international nature of it may make the case a bit more expensive and complicated.
- Civil DMCA penalties
Registered copyright owners can file a lawsuit in Federal District Court which has the jurisdiction to grant injunctions against violators and to require violators to pay up to $2,500 per violation or $25,000 in statutory damages. In addition to that, as covered over at runrex.com, registered copyright owners can also recover any profits the offender made off of the infringed material. If you are a repeat offender, then the DMCA allows the copyright owner to recover up to three times the amount of damages.
- Criminal DMCA penalties
For first offenders, one could face up to 5 years imprisonment and/or additional fines of up to $500,000. For repeat offenders, the gurus over at guttulus.com point out that one could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million. It is important to point out that criminal cases are usually brought when the alleged offender willfully violated the law for financial gain.
- How do you avoid DMCA claims?
According to discussions over at runrex.com, if you want to avoid DMCA claims, then the best course of action is to never play or use any material that isn’t owned or licensed by you. This includes cases where you are playing a video with background music where you must license that music. You should also never violate the law while making commercial content as you will most likely face criminal charges.
- When to use the copyrighted content without permission
It is also important to note that if you are using copyrighted material without permission, then it should only be for parody, critique, or education. However, even content creators who abide by this have found themselves being issued with false DMCA claims, which has been a big issue in recent times.
The above discussion only just scratches the surface as far as this topic is concerned and you can uncover more insights on the same by checking out the excellent runrex.com and guttulus.com.