The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is obsolete, and everybody knows it. The DMCA was the topic in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on copyright review about two weeks ago, and much has been written about its flaws both from pro and anti-copyright perspectives. A recent editorial in The Los Angeles Times leads with a headline “Congress should bring copyright law into the 21st century.” Unfortunately, for far too long, this particular theme has been distorted by technology interests to convey the message that copyright law as a principle is obsolete in a market that has been transformed by the capacity of the internet to enable mass, cheap distribution of media. In reality, though, the story that is finally being told is that certain aspects of copyright law, like the DMCA, are inadequate protections for rights holders in the digital age. Quite simply, the technologies of 2014 enable and reward piracy on a scale that no entity of any size can combat with a 1998 mechanism.
The Times article does a good job of summarizing the flaws with the DMCA, both for rights holders and legitimate internet companies; and it makes the radical suggestion that companies like Google might want to collaborate with media interests to simultaneously strengthen protections for creators and craft a legal framework that would be more efficient for entities like YouTube, which receives a tremendous volume of takedown requests under the DMCA. It was just a couple months ago that YouTube passed the milestone of receiving its 100 millionth takedown request from the recording industry alone.
See the full LA Times editorial here.
For some perspective on just how useless DMCA is for an independent content owner, watch this video from Fast Girl Films and VoxIndie: