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US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act

US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology was locked out of his Twitter account for an hour allegedly over a notice received for violation of the US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 1998.

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

  • It is a law passed in the US and is among the world’s first laws recognising Intellectual Property (IP) on the internet.
  • The DMCA oversees the implementation of two 1996 treaties signed by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) member nations- the Copyright Treaty and the Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
  • Both the treaties require member nations and signatories to provide in their respective jurisdictions, protection to IP that may have been created by citizens of different nations who are also co-signatories to the treaty.
  • It also obligates that signatories to the treaty ensure ways to prevent circumvention of the technical measures used to protect copyrighted work.
  • It also provides the necessary international legal protection to digital content.

Complaint and Compliance

  • Any content creator of any form, who believes that their original content has been copied by a user or a website without authorisation can file an application citing their intellectual property has been stolen or violated.                  US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • In the case of social media intermediaries like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, content creators can directly approach the platform with a proof of them being original creators.
  • Since these companies operate in nations which are signatories to the WIPO treaty, they are obligated to remove the said content if they receive a valid and legal DMCA takedown notice.

Intellectual Property

  • It is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents and trademarks.
  • It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition.

World Intellectual Property Organisation

  • It is one of the oldest specialised agencies of the United Nations.
  • It was created in 1967 to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of IP throughout the world.
  • Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Members: As of date, 193 nations across the world, including India, are members of WIPO.
  • It currently administers 26 international treaties. Some of the major treaties are:
    • Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure.
    • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
    • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
    • Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks- Madrid Protocol.
    • Washington Treaty on IP in respect of Integrated Circuits.                      US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act
    • Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol.
    • Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities.
  • Major Functions:
    • Policy forum to shape balanced international IP rules for a changing world.
    • Global services to protect IP across borders and to resolve disputes.
    • Technical infrastructure to connect IP systems and share knowledge.
    • Cooperation and capacity-building programs to enable all countries to use IP for economic, social and cultural development.
    • A world reference source for IP information.

Indian Laws which Cover Intellectual Property

  • Trade Marks Act, 1999.
  • Patents Act, 1970 (as amended in 2005).
  • Copyright Act, 1957.
  • Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • Designs Act, 2000.
  • Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000.
  • Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act, 2001.            US’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act



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