Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

Authored by: Jonathan A. Franklin

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was the most important amendment to U.S. copyright law during the 1990s. Unlike other amendments that altered small but important pieces of the copyright law, the DMCA created an entirely new form of protection that will have wide-ranging effects and has even caused some to suggest it could be the death of copyright. The DMCA was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1998. It amended the U.S. Code, primarily Title 17 of the U.S. Code, part of the federal law that deals with copyright law. The DMCA includes a cluster of discrete copyright-related issues that were combined in one substantial piece of legislation. It covers a wide range of topics, including limiting Internet service provider (ISP) liability, the scope of exclusive rights in ephemeral sound recordings, and protecting boat hull designs. One of the most important sections—the circumvention prohibition—forbids circumvention of technological measures that prevent access to a work.

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