What are DMCA notices?

Written by Aashish Aryan, edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |

June 27, 2021, 11:44 a.m.

The Minister of the Union of Electronics and Information Technologies and of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, was on Friday locked from his Twitter account for one hour allegedly on a notice received for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA oversees the implementation of two 1996 treaties signed by member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

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What is the DMCA and how does it ensure the implementation of WIPO treaties?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, is a 1998 law passed in the United States and is among the first laws in the world to recognize intellectual property on the Internet. Promulgated by then-US President Bill Clinton, the law oversees the implementation of the two treaties signed and approved by member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996.

WIPO members had concluded two treaties in December 1996, namely the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Both treaties require member countries and signatories to provide, in their respective jurisdictions, protection to intellectual property that may have been created by citizens of different nations who are also co-signatories to the treaty.

Such protection, granted by each Member State, must in no case be less than that granted to a national copyright owner. In addition, it also obliges treaty signatories to secure means to prevent circumvention of technological measures used to protect copyrighted works. It also provides the necessary international legal protection for digital content.

What is WIPO and how does it protect content on the Internet?

With the rapid commercialization of the Internet in the late 1990s, which began with the display of static billboards on the Internet, it became important for website owners to get the user to spend more time on the Internet. their web page. For this, fresh content has been generated by the creators and shared on the Internet. The problem started when the content was copied by unscrupulous websites or users, who were not generating the content themselves. In addition, as the internet grew around the world, websites in countries other than where the content originated from also began to copy the unique content generated by the websites.

To avoid this and to test unauthorized copiers, members of WIPO, established in 1967, also agreed to extend copyright and intellectual property protection to digital content. To date, 193 countries around the world, including India, are members of WIPO.

Who can generate a DMCA notice and how are they sent to businesses or websites?

Any content creator of any form who believes that their original content has been copied by a user or website without permission can file a claim alleging that their intellectual property has been stolen or infringed.

Users can either go to the website where the content was hosted or to third-party service providers such as DMCA.com, who use a team of experts to help remove the stolen content for a small fee.

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In the case of social media intermediaries like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, content creators can approach the platform directly with proof that they are original creators. Since these companies operate in countries that are party to the WIPO Treaty, they are obligated to remove such content if they receive a valid and legal DMCA takedown notice.

However, the platforms also give other users against whom allegations of content cheating have been made the opportunity to respond to the DMCA Notice by filing a Counter Notice. The platform will then decide which part is telling the truth, and accordingly, either restore the content or keep it hidden.


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