The Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA was made a law under President Clinton in October of 1998. The DMCA implements the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties together with the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. As well as the WIPO treaties, the DMCA deals with other imperative copyright-associated concerns and is divided into five titles.

Title I implements the WIPO Treaties. Firstly, Title I amends U.S. law in an effort to provide appropriate references and links to the WIPO treaties. Secondly, it creates two prohibitions. The first being “circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works” and the second dealing with “tampering with copyright management information”. Title I adds “civil remedies” and “criminal penalties” for disobeying these prohibitions. Title I also requires that the U.S. Copyright Office executes cooperative studies along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce or NTIA. (

Title II creates limits on the liability of online service providers for copyright violation when engaging in certain categories of activities. These limitations of Title II are founded on four categories of behavior by service providers consisting of transitory communications, system caching, information storage on systems of networks at direction of users, and information location tools. Title II also creates a process that permits a copyright owner to get hold of a “subpoena” that will let a service provider reveal the identity of a subscriber who is participating in infringing activities. (

Title III “creates an exemption for making a copy of a computer program or software by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair.” However the computer program being activated must be destroyed immediately upon completion of maintenance or repair.
Title IV contains six “miscellaneous provisions” relating to the functions of the Copyright Office. These six provisions are in regard to “distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries and for making ephemeral recordings, “webcasting” of sound recordings on the Internet, and the applicability of collective bargaining agreement obligations in the case of transfers of rights in motion pictures.”(

Title V deals with the protection of “certain original designs” and creates a new structure of protection for the design of vessel hulls. Title V is a brief indication of the law’s requirements. To gain an accurate understanding of the provisions of the DMCA one should reference the original legislation text. (

For the most part, the DMCA law has been widely successful. Although there is some criticism of and opposition to the law, the DMCA has been effective on a large scale. One of the biggest critics of the DMCA law is Congressman, Democrat Rick Boucher of Virginia. Boucher argues that there are problems within the law and it is in dire need of reform. In October 2001, Boucher proposed a bill to withdraw part of the DMCA. (
Boucher stated in an interview that, “As far as the bill going forward is concerned, the need for the legislation is as great as ever.” And that, “The result of such a law remaining on the books is that companies will be more reluctant to introduce new technology that has lawful uses such as facilitating the exercise of fair use rights, but which also circumvents technological protection measures and could facilitate copyright infringement…And so to encourage the introduction of useful technologies, the legislation is needed and it will go forward." (
For more information on the criticism of the DMCA by Congressman Boucher, read the article cited above by clicking the following link.

The DMCA law is at present unsettled in relations to websites that contain links to materials that infringe on copyright; but, there have been a few lower-court decisions ruling in opposition to linking in some narrowly arranged situations. "Linking to infringing content is probably illegal in the US". WebTVWire. 2006-09-12.
There have also been several major court cases such as MPAA v RealNetworks Inc. This case in August of 2009 was a lawsuit brought forward and won by the Motion Picture Association of America against RealNetworks. The MPAA claimed that RealNetworks was in violation of the DMCA in selling RealDVD software which allowed users to copy DVD’s to store on a hard drive. The MPAA claimed that the software was “circumventing” anti-piracy measures. (;title)