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Philadelphia Trademark Lawyers: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Protecting Internet Service Providers from Claims of Copyright Infringement

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 U.S.C. §§ 512, (“DMCA”), is a law that heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. The DMCA provides a safe-harbor provision for internet service providers from monetary liability under the Act as long as they comply with the conditions set forth in § 512. An internet service provider is defined as

“an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user’s choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received and/or a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor, and includes an entity described in subparagraph (A).”

Companies like Google and Amazon are considered internet service providers because they merely provide the online services that allow third party users to sell goods. Parker v. Google, Inc., 422 F. Supp. 2d 492, 501 (E.D. Pa. 2006) aff’d, 242 F. App’x 833 (3d Cir. 2007) and Hendrickson v. Amazon.Com, Inc., 298 F. Supp. 2d 914, 914 (C.D. Cal. 2003).

Internet service providers are protected under the Act’s safe-harbor provision as long as the provider: does not have actual knowledge of infringing content on its servers, does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity if the provider has the ability to control such activity, and acts quickly to remove or disable access to infringing material after receiving notice that the material is infringing.

For more information, call our trademark lawyers in Philadelphia at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.