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Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Bill Number: HR-2281

Public Law Number: 105-304

Disposition: 1998-Oct-28
Enacted - Signed by the President

Once the president signs a bill, it becomes a law.

Full title...
To amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty

Click to view...
Bill Text (Reading difficulty: Hard)

Sponsor & Key Contributors
Howard Coble

Related Issues...
Cell Phone Unlocking

Other names for this bill...

This law usually is referred to by the acronym for Digital Millennium Copyright Act - DMCA.

Copyright protection

The stated purpose of the DMCA is to protect creative works.

The main provision of the law made it illegal to circumvent the digital locks on copyrighted music, movies, books, and software. But the wording is broad, and can prevent things that could be considered legitimate. For example, the law made it illegal to alter a cell phone that you own to allow it to run software not sanctioned by the manufacturer (a process known as jailbreaking or rooting).

Therefore, it allows the U.S. Copyright Office and the Library of Congress to grant exemptions.

Other provisions

Some other provisions of the DMCA...

o It limited the liability for copyright infringement by websites and internet providers for material that was posted or transmitted without their control (Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act).

o It protected the design of boats of specified sizes (Vessel Hull Design Protection Act).

Controversial uses of the DMCA

The DMCA has been used in extremely restrictive ways to stifle competition, research, and information detrimental to various companies.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has documented such abuses in this 2013 report.

More information

You can find more details about this bill at

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