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Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 is an amendment to U.S. copyright law that attempts to address copyright issues related the new and emerging technologies of the Digital Age (i.e., the Internet) that were not represented in previous legislation. The DMCA brings U.S. copyright law into compliance with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances Phonograms Treaty. Additionally, the DMCA:

  • Enables copyright holders the ability to limit access to copyrighted digital works;
  • Prohibits the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) of copyrighted works;
  • Prohibits the removal or alteration of copyright management information;
  • Limits the copyright infringement liability of online service providers (OSPs);
  • Allows temporary copies of software to be made for repair purposes; and
  • Permits libraries to make digital copies of copyrighted works for replacement or preservation purposes as well as "loan" these copies to other institutions.

Anti-Circumvention Exemptions

The Librarian of Congress can issue exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA which prohibits the circumvention of access-control technology. Exemptions are made when it is believed that the anti-circumvention of access-control technology adversely effect the user's ability to use copyrighted works in non-infringing ways. Exemptions are released every three years.


The information presented in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions, please contact the DCCCD General Counsel.

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