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Internet Association members are committed to fostering creativity and ensuring access to a wide variety of content through the free and open internet. A balanced, innovation-oriented copyright system is critical to the digital economy, because it enables internet companies to provide the best products and services possible, while also ensuring that creators rights’ are protected.

IA members support copyright policies that:

  • Promote innovation, economic success, and startup companies’ development.
  • Balance the rights of creators with the benefits to consumers, creativity, and the public interest.
  • Protect consumers and internet intermediaries through safe harbors and fair use exceptions.
  • Enable clear, consistent, and flexible licensing.
  • Empower companies to use innovative techniquest to protect and enforce their copyrights.
  • Increase customer access to, and choice of, legal material online.
  • Set a strong, consistent standard for copyright policy in trade agreements.

DMCA Benefits Creators, Users, and Internet Intermediaries

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) balances the interests of creators and the public by combating piracy, protecting public access to legal content online, and offering significant economic, social, and cultural gains.

The DMCA has fostered the greatest proliferation of creativity in history, fueling the domestic and global economies. In 2018, the global music industry derived more than 50 percent of its revenue from digital music-streaming content.2

Did You Know?

Without the safe harbor protections in the DMCA and other intermediary liability protections, the U.S. economy would shrink by approximately $75 billion annually and would lose an estimated 425,000 jobs.3

How the DMCA Works

The DMCA’s “notice and takedown” system protects the rights of creators while enabling online communities to flourish. The DMCA requires collaboration among creators, platforms, and users to combat copyright infringement. The process works like this:

  • A copyright owner notifies a platform that an allegedly infringing work1 has been posted.
  • The platform notifies the user who posted the content and takes down the post.
  • The user has the opportunity to send a counter notice, which is effectively an appeal of the takedown by asserting a legal right to post the content, including by citing fair use, an existing license, or misidentification of the content.
  • If a user submits a valid counter notice to the platform, the post will be restored. If not, the post will remain unavailable.
  • If the copyright owner feels that the post was restored in error, they can ask a court to review the alleged infringement and render a decision.
  1. USCO definition of copyright infringement: “As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.”

This time-tested notice and takedown framework allows copyright holders to find and stop infringement, incentivizes platforms to promptly respond to notices alleging that they are hosting illegal content, and allows consumers to create and consume legal content at their convenience. 

The DMCA’s system plays a central role in allowing online platforms to grow and innovate without the crushing risk of legal threats. As long as platforms remove access to infringing material when they become aware of it and have reasonable policies to deal with repeat infringers, they will not be held legally responsible if consumers use their services to share infringing content. 

IA members believe the DMCA carefully balances the interests of users, creators, and platforms, and that amending the law would not improve upon the existing system, which incentivizes good faith collaboration between creative industries and online services. The DMCA offers a floor, not a ceiling, for online services responding to infringement notices. Many of IA’s members go above and beyond that threshold by engaging directly with rightsholders to improve their ability to respond to enforcement challenges and be fairly compensated for their work. 

  1. USCO definition of copyright infringement: “As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.”
  2. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/tmt/media/outlook/segment-findings.html
  3. https://cdn1.www.indioink.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Economic-Value-of-Internet-Intermediaries-the-Role-of-Liability-Protections.pdf
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